Dalai Lama Event Moved after India Warns Top Officials to Stay Away

His Holiness Dalai Lama- File

"And the inter-faith prayer at Rajghat has been cancelled for now".

Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan members and other Tibetan rights advocates yesterday called on the Chinese government to free Tibet and allow the Dalai Lama to return home, as they launched a series of events to mark the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising.

"The proposed period will be a very sensitive time in the context of India's relations with China".

The Tibetan government which is observing "60 years in exile" of the Dalai Lama, has now shifted the "Thank You India" event to Dharamsala which will be held either on March 31 or April 1.

A spokesman for the government-in-exile told VOA, "we came to know about the Indian government's circular and we decided we respect the position and we shifted it to Dharamsala". Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Many Tibetan activists are said to have communicated to relevant authorities as the development "humiliated" Dalai Lama. For the Delhi event, the Tibetan government in exile is understood to have invited former PM Dr Manmohan Singh and BJP's senior leader L K Advani.

"There were plans for speeches by the Dalai Lama and some of our Indian friends, from government, politics, academia and others, at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex".

Dorje Gyalchen, a representative of the Tibetan community in Dharamsala, confirmed that the venue for the gathering planned for New Delhi would be changed. "But that plan is now being re-worked", a Tibetan administration official said.

The event "Thank You India", which was chose to be held at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on April 1 in Delhi, is shifted to Dharamsala.

China considers the Dalai Lama to be a unsafe separatist and has piled pressure on foreign governments to shun him.

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Reacting upon the advisory note issued by the government Sonam Dagpo purportedly said, "India is host to Tibetan refugees".

On March 2, media reports had quoted a note sent by the cabinet secretary on the advice of Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to ask ministers and officials to skip Tibetan functions, lest they raise hackles in Beijing. "Participation by senior leaders or government functionaries, either from the Central Government or State Governments, is not desirable, and should be discouraged".

The note was reportedly issued a day before the foreign secretary departed for Beijing to hold talks with China's Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, Foreign Minister Wang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said that Indias position on the Dalai Lama is "clear" and "consistent". The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled from the crackdown and was granted asylum in India. "His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India", said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

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