New Delhi: Days after a government note directing senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from events planned to mark 60 years of exile of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government-in-exile has decided to cancel one of its main events in New Delhi. Another event has been shifted to Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
Tibetan leaders have officially said that they respect Indian government’s decision.
The two events which were scheduled to take place in New Delhi were an inter-faith prayer at the Gandhi Samadhi in Rajghat on March 31 and a ‘Thank You India’ event at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on April 1.
Both events were to be attended by the Dalai Lama.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Sonam Dagpo, spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration, confirmed the move and said, “The Thyagaraj stadium event has been shifted to Dharamsala now. And the inter-faith prayer at Rajghat has been cancelled for now.”
Dagpo, however, informed that participation in Yoga Day, Swachh Bharat, tree-plantation and other events will take place as planned.
On the issue of government’s note, Dagpo said, “India is host to Tibetan refugees. We respect the Indian government’s decision. We have no further comments.”
He, however, added that there had been no communication from the Indian government to the Tibetan administration on this issue.
On Friday, the Indian Express reported that Foreign Secretary Gokhale had written to the Cabinet Secretary on February 22 saying that the proposed time for the events will be very sensitive time in the context of India's relations with China.
"Participation by senior leaders or government functionaries, either from the Central Government or State Governments, is not desirable, and should be discouraged,” Gokhale wrote.
The ‘Thank You India’ event at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi found specific mention in the Foreign Secretary’s note.
A Tibetan administration official said, “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. There was also a plan to gift a souvenir, a Dharmachakra, from the Tibetan administration to a representative of the Indian government, as an expression of our gratitude to the Indian government for hosting us for 60 years. But that plan is now being re-worked.”
Citing sources, the report said the Tibetan administration was planning to invite former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Deputy Prime Minister and senior BJP leader LK Advani, Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju among others for the events at the Thyagaraj stadium and Rajghat....