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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Dalai Lama's security upgradation in limbo as suggested technology unavailable in India

Naresh K Thakur , Hindustan Times  Dharamsala, August 24, 2014
First Published: 21:29 IST(24/8/2014) | Last Updated: 21:31 IST(24/8/2014)

Even as the Tibetan government-in-exile remains apprehensive over the threat perception to the Dalai Lama- particularly from Shugden followers, the upgradation proposed in the security of the spiritual leader two years ago,  still lies in limbo as the suggested technology is unavailable in India.

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The Indian government had proposed adding sophisticated technology like chemical detector or vapour scanner in the Dalai Lama's security ring after the spiritual leader went public on the Chinese threat -- a possible poisoning plot -- to his life in an interview to an UK-based paper in 2012.

Highly placed sources said that the matter was again discussed in a security review by Indian government, following increased activities of the Shugden followers, who openly demonstrated against the 79- year-old Nobel peace laureate during his visits to US and Europe, early this year.

Recently, a group of Tibetans from a university being run by Shugden faction in Nepal had visited the Mcleodganj- the adobe of the Dalai Lama raising hackles among the security agencies.

“Yes, there was a proposal to add chemical detector in His Holiness's security,” said Ngodup Dongchung, Kalon (Minister) for security, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). “The proposal is in pipeline as chemical detectors are unavailable in India,” he added. 

The Dalai Lama, who has made Dharamsala his home ever since he fled Tibet decades ago, is possibly the most-protected VVIP in Himachal Pradesh with- Z plus security.

The increasing threat perception has taken his security to levels never seen before. These measures have been added level by level over the years.

The Dalai Lama receives an estimated two lakh visitors a year and the security department of the CTA as well as Indian agencies review his security from time to time. 

While the Dalai Lama's inner security cordon comprises highly-trained Tibetan security guards, the outer periphery at Dharamshala is handled by around 100 Himachal Police personnel, headed by an officer of additional SP rank.  Besides, visitors and guests of the Dalai Lama are screened by trained security experts.

Recently, the CTA had released a list containing the names of 20 Tibetans belonging to Shugden group who were involved in the protests against the Dalai Lama in US and Europe. Dorje Shugden (also known as 'Dolgyal') is an ancient Tibetan deity that the Dalai Lama had denounced in the past.

“The posting of this information stems from security concerns and to raise awareness within the Tibetan community about members of a group with a history of violence, murder, physical assault and arson,” the government-in-exile had said in a recent statement.

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