Dalai Lama again turns down Tibetan exiles' plea | india | Hindustan Times
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Dalai Lama again turns down Tibetan exiles' plea

india Updated: May 25, 2011 18:38 IST

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Wednesday once again refused to budge from his stand of seeking retirement from political role as head of the exiled Tibetans.

He turned down an appeal by the exiles to continue as the "ceremonial head of state".

At the address of the grand session of exiled Tibetans in this Himachal Pradesh town where he is running his government-in-exile, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said the decision to shed political authority and hand over powers to an elected political leadership stemmed from his commitment to democracy.

Confirming his decision, Chimme Choekyappa, private secretary to the Dalai Lama, told IANS that that "His Holiness is sticking to his previous stand. He turned down the plea of the exiles to be the ceremonial head of state".

"But he would continue to be the spiritual head," he added.

As many as 418 participants from 20 countries, including India, Nepal, Bhutan and the US, as also from Europe, have been taking part in the grand congregation for the past four days.

They deliberate on draft constitutional amendments in the Tibetan Charter (constitution) for devolution of the spiritual leader's political and administrative powers to the democratically-elected leadership.

The session unanimously approved a proposal on Tuesday to request the Dalai Lama not to give up his ceremonial duties.

These included his legal authority to issue statements over the issue of Tibet and right to appoint his representatives to 11 countries.

The participants Wednesday had an in-camera meeting with the Dalai Lama. They presented to the Dalai Lama a report on the recommendations of their earlier meeting.

Speaker of parliament Penpa Tsering said Tuesday: "If His Holiness refuses to accept the appeal of the second Tibetan general meeting, then we will have to sit down and discuss ways to devolve the powers in Article 19 of the Charter to the three organs of democracy."

The Tibetan legislators will meet for three days starting Thursday for a special session to discuss and evaluate the proposed amendments to the Charter and Preamble.

The spiritual leader formally announced his political retirement at the onset of the budget session March 14.

US-based Lobsang Sangay was last month elected the new prime minister (Kalon Tripa). He will replace Samdhong Rinpoche and assume office Aug 14.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against communist rule. His government-in-exile is based here but is not recognised by any country.

Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, over 100,000 of them in India.