Maoists start anti-Dalai Lama campaign | world | Hindustan Times
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Maoists start anti-Dalai Lama campaign

world Updated: Oct 16, 2007 12:34 IST

In a significant development, Nepal's Maoist guerrillas are mounting a campaign against the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

The Janadisha daily, the Maoist mouthpiece that reflects the party's views, said that a secret meeting had taken place in the Kathmandu valley to plan strategies for an anti-China secessionist movement from Dharamshala. Dharamsala, in Himachal Pradesh state in India, is where the Dalai Lama has his government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country.

The front-page report Monday, with a photograph of the red-robed Dalai Lama, said China's growing interest in Nepal's political developments had made "some forces" apprehensive, and they were trying to foment anti-China activities.

It said that last month Christian groups from nearly 20 countries had held a nine-day conference at a resort in the valley.

It alleged that though the conference was ostensibly called to discuss religious issues, it meant to add momentum to the movement to free Tibet from China. Buddhist monks from India, Nepal, Japan, the US, Britain, Germany, Uganda, France, Israel, Argentina, Chile, Iraq and Tibet took part in the meet, it said.

According to the report, the participants discussed fomenting a secessionist movement in Tibet so that Beijing would become preoccupied with retaining the annexed kingdom. This would enable India and the US to intervene in Nepal.

Despite pledging commitment to multi-party democracy, Nepal's Maoists remain anti-religion, following the way of northern neighbour China.

Maoist chief Prachanda has ruled out allowing the office of the Dalai Lama's representative in Kathmandu to re-open, saying his party would not condone any action that could displease China.

Ironically, it was King Gyanendra, whom the Maoists opposed, who ordered its closure. The new government adheres to the China policy formulated by the royal regime even while it has overturned the king's other policies.

Last year, when the Maoists signed a peace pact mediated by India, they said they wanted the same harmonious relations with both their immediate neighbours, China and India. But since they quit the government, the Maoists have started hardening their stance towards Nepal's southern neighbour.

They have flayed the recent visit to Kathmandu by India's special envoy Shyam Saran, who asked the government to hold the stalled general election at the earliest and not to abolish monarchy through a vote in parliament. The rebels have called his comments naked intervention by India.

India's diplomatic policy towards Nepal has been floundering since it helped a multi-party government end King Gyanendra's regime and come to power. China, on the other hand, enjoys the best possible relations with Kathmandu though it supported the royal regime and sold it arms and ammunition to hunt down the Maoists.