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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

The Dala Lama's security threat: Tibetan govt releases list of Shugden followers

Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times  Dharamsala, August 18, 2014
First Published: 20:27 IST(18/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:31 IST(18/8/2014)

Concerned over the threats to the Dalai Lama's security following a surge in the activities of extremist groups, the Tibetan government-in-exile on Monday released a list containing names and personal information of Shudgen followers, who held demonstrations during the spiritual leader's visit to Europe and the United States of America this year.

Dorje Shugden (also known as 'Dolgyal') is an ancient Tibetan deity that the Dalai Lama had denounced. He had described it as a 'demon spirit' and had suggested that the Tibetans stop worshiping it.

“Essentially, the posting of this information stems from security concerns and the need for creating awareness within the Tibetan community about the members of a group (Shugden followers) with a history of violence such as murder, physical assault and arson,” said a statement by Kashag (cabinet) of the government-in-exile.

“Both Indian and US authorities have recognised that the Dolgyal-related groups are a security threat to His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Kashag said.

Accusing Shugden followers of persistently making baseless allegations against the Dalai Lama, Kashag said the campaign had become more aggressive with demonstrations specifically targeting the spiritual leader during his last visit abroad.

Kashag said the physical proximity of the demonstrators to the Dalai Lama had alarmed the Tibetan community as have slogans such as “False Dalai Lama” and “Dictator”.

“The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) felt it had a responsibility to disclose and raise awareness about the demonstrators' identity,” asserted Kashag, stating that as the official governing institution of the Tibetan people, the CTA was accountable to the people and must address such concerns. 

Accusing Shugden followers of acting as a tool for the Chinese government to slander the Dalai Lama's reputation, the Kashag said nearly 20 Tibetans whose names and photographs were posted, had appeared on YouTube, Facebook and newspapers.

Maintaining that the identity of the person posted on the CTA website was, for the most part, already in public domain, Kashag said, “For Tibetans who do not have access to Dolgyal-related websites, CTA deems it their right to know and thus, reproduced their materials.”

Reiterating its firm stand that the freedom of speech should be exercised responsibly and truthfully, Kashag said the Tibetan struggle was based on non-violence, a fundamental principle which also applied to the manner in which CTA addressed internal matters such as the Shugden issue.

“Shugden followers enjoy every facility as other Tibetans and have never been discriminated or denied their religious freedom. Shugden propitiators continue to travel within India and abroad on documents issued by the Indian government with endorsement from the Tibetan government,” said the statement.

“In seeking legal status or political asylum in North America and Europe, Dolgyal followers could be using 'denial of religious freedom' as an excuse,” alleged Kashag.

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