‘Upset’ with Tibetan PM-in-exile, Dalai Lama cancels event commemorating 1959 escape
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) that had organised the event, commemorating the day when the Dalai Lama left home in Lhasa, however, claimed that the event had been ‘postponed’, not cancelled.
With the Dalai Lama leaving for Jammu on Saturday morning to attend the first convocation of the Central University of Jammu and Kashmir, a special event ‘Remembering March 17: From Home to Exile’, was cancelled at the 11th hour.
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) that had organised the event, commemorating the day when the Dalai Lama left home in Lhasa, however, claimed that the event had been ‘postponed’, not cancelled. “The event has been postponed till further notice,” said Sonam Norbu Dagpo, secretary, international relations, government-in-exile. Yet, neither he, nor other officials could explain, how an event linked to a date can be marked any other day.
Coming close on the heels of the CTA cancelling a ‘Thank You India’ event at Delhi and shifting it to Dharamshala, after a snub from the Centre, the development has sparked speculation that the Dalai Lama is unhappy with his political successor, Lobsang Sangay. Sangay was elected as the Dalai Lama’s political successor in 2011, when the spiritual leader devolved his political powers to the democratically-elected government.
Is the Dalai Lama angry?
“If you read between the lines, there is something to it,” said a Tibetan leader, on the condition of anonymity. He added that organisers had sent them at least four messages for the event. “First they said it is happening and then stated it is not happening,” he said, claiming that many of Sangay’s decisions are seen as attempts to get publicity in international media. An instance of this, he claimed, was the ‘Thank You India’ event.
“Thank You India had already been held in 2009 on the completion of His Holiness’s 50 years in exile. What was the need of the event in the 60th year,” this leader said, adding that Sangay had unnecessarily raked up the issue of Penpa Tsering’s removal as the Dalai Lama’s representative to North America during the Tibet Uprising Day on March 10.
Sangay-led Kasha (the cabinet of the CTA) has removed Tsering from the post in November 2017, months after his appointment, claiming lack of trust between him and the cabinet. However, the community perceives Tsering’s removal as being linked to him raising the issue of embezzlement of funds in the purchase of a new office of Tibet in US capital, Washington DC.
Sangay has had a controversial stint
Sangay has had a flair for controversy since the Tibetan general elections of 2016 that were marred by mudslinging between him and Tsering. The Dalai Lama had expressed his displeasure over the negative campaigning, saying proceedings had been ‘Grand on the outside, but shallow inside’. He had even barred both of them from receiving him, on his return from tours. In December 2017, Sangay sparked a row claiming that Dalai Lama’s close aide and former prime minister-in-exile had been visiting China privately; the latter had denied this.