Exiled Tibetans launch online petition urging Rome to ensure security of Dalai Lama

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharmsala
  • Updated: Nov 22, 2014 20:44 IST

Concerned over the threat to the Dalai Lama following a series of aggressive protests by extremist groups against the spiritual leader during his recent visit to the West, the exiled Tibetans have now started an online campaign urging the government of Rome to ensure his security during the 14th World Nobel Peace Laureates' Summit.

The summit that was earlier scheduled to be held in Cape Town in October was relocated to its origin place - Rome after South Africa denied visa to the Dalai Lama.

The summit is now slated for December 12-14.

The Tibetan National Congress, an independent political party in-exile that ran the intense "Boycott and Relocate" campaign for over two months - to cancel the summit in Cape Town and relocate to Rome, has launched an online petition urging the government of Rome to ensure that protesters be kept at a safe distance from the spiritual leader.

In the petition, the TNC has expressed gratitude to the government and people of Rome for hosting the 14th World Summit of Nobel Laureates and has requested to ensure the safety of 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner when he visits the city. It has urged the authorities of Rome to ensure that any anti-Dalai Lama protesters in Rome be kept at bay from the spiritual leader.

"We respectfully request you to ensure that any anti-Dalai Lama protesters in Rome be required to exercise their right to free speech at a safe distance from His Holiness the Dalai Lama," said TNC in petition, adding that this would ensure free speech as well as protect the personal safety of the spiritual leader.

TNC president Jigme Ugen said that the Tibetans have been successful in defeating the Chinese government's attempt to bar the Dalai Lama from the summit.

"We are now concerned that His Holiness has recently been targeted by extremist protesters during his visit to the West," said Jigme adding that these protesters appear to be well-organised and well-financed, and their rhetoric has become increasingly intemperate.

"The danger is compounded by the Chinese government's unpredictable reaction to its embarrassing failed attempt to dictate the terms of the Nobel Summit," said Jigme.

Followers of Dorje Shugden, an ancient Tibetan deity denounced by the Dalai Lama, have in recent past intensified the protests against the spiritual leader demanding him to lift the ban on rituals involving deities prevalent for centuries.

However, the Tibetan government-in-exile and supporters of the Dalai Lama say that he had not banned any practice and that Buddhism does not allow for such restrictions.

The exile government had recently released a list containing names and personal information of those who were involved in the demonstrations against the Dalai Lama during his foreign visits.

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