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Dalai Lama postpones his visit to Arunachal Pradesh

October 26, 2008

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who was scheduled to
visit Arunachal Pradesh in November to inaugurate a multi-specialty
hospital in Twang, has postponed his visit following an order from
the External affairs ministry..
B K Upmanyu
MeriNews (India)
October 24, 2008

UNDER IMMENSE pressure from China, the Indian government on Friday
(October 24) barred the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, from
visiting Arunachal Pradesh next month. Due to non availability of
clearance from ministry of external affairs office, the Dalai Lama
has decided to postponed the proposed tour for next year.

Dalai Lama had planned his visit to Tawang from November 10 till 15,
following invitation from the Arunachal Pradesh government and the
local Buddhist community. Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee
Khandu had visited Dharamshala recently to extend an invitation for
inaugurating a multi-specialty hospital in Twang, constructed at an
estimated cost of rupees four crore. Dalai Lama had donated Rs 20
lakh for the construction of the multi- specialty hospital when he
had visited the area in 2003.

Khandu during his visit to Dharamshala had expressed his fear that
the external affairs ministry may not give permission to Dalai Lama
to visit Twang. Khandu is a Bhuddhist and belongs to the powerful
gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, headed by the Dalai Lama.

Khandu was accompanied by Twang MLA Tshering Dhondup and Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha Member Kiren Ritju , who is the
coordinator of the All Party Parliamentary forum for Tibet.
Notwithstanding the apprehension of Arunachal CM, Dalai Lama's office
had planned a week-long visit to areas of Arunachal Pardesh next
month. According to the schedule fixed by the office of the Dalai
Lama , the tour of the Tibetan leader was to commence from the second
week of November. Dalai Lama was scheduled to visit Itanagar,
Bomdilla and Twang . Dalai lama's office had received information
from the chief minister 's office that the construction of the
hospital at Twang has been completed and was ready for inauguration .

Significance was being attached to the Dalai Lama's possible tour to
Twang since the spiritual leader, after the failed uprising against
the Chinese, had taken the Twang route to flee to India in 1959 .
Secondly, during the 1962 war, Chinese army had captured Twang and
came to Bomdilla . The red army later withdrew. China has been
claiming Arunachal Pradesh, including Twang, birthplace of the sixth
Dalai Lama, as its territory but India rejected the claim and
asserted that the state was an integral part of its territory. The
officials at directorate of ministry of external affairs in
Dharamshala denied that Dalai Lama's tour had been cancelled
following government orders.

"Our office has nothing to do with Dalai Lama 's visit," said an
official at the MEA liaison office, located in the vicinity of the
Dalai Lama's private office.

The tour has been postponed for spring season next year, Tenzine
Takhala, Dalai Lama's personal aid, said while refusing any detail or
reason for differing tour programme.
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