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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Dalai Lama tells China he isn't a demon

Ignoring Beijing's reservations, West Bengal governor MK Narayanan was present at a programme on Mother Teresa, which was addressed by the Tibetan spiritual leader.

kolkata Updated: Dec 01, 2011 19:49 IST


The Chinese are not going to like this. Ignoring Beijing's reservations, West Bengal governor MK Narayanan was present at a programme on Mother Teresa, which was addressed by the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Narayanan refused to comment on the issue and the Tibetan leader said the matter should not be "politicised".

The Dalai Lama termed as "quite routine" the Chinese objections to India allowing him a platform to air his views, saying they consider him as a "demon" even though his position now is "semi-retired".

When asked about the Chinese consulate's letter to the state government to ensure that the CM and governor did not attend the programme, Narayanan retorted, "What do you expect me to do about it? If they have written to the chief secretary. They have written."

When a newsman pointed out that the Chinese consulate has objected to his visit here, Dalai Lama said, "This is quite routine. From their point of view it is also logical. Some Chinese officials consider me as a demon. They raise every objection."

Asked if he expected this kind of reaction from the Chinese government, he quipped, "I have faced this before. I don't want to comment on the letter from the Chinese consulate."

"This year in March I formally, officially handed over the political leadership. I am no longer a leader of political administration. So, I don't like to politicise my visit here," he remarked.

While China treats the Tibetan spiritual leader as persona non grata, New Delhi has maintained that he is respectable religious leader and in a democratic country there is no restriction on freedom of speech.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee could not attend the programme as her mother was in a critical condition, according to Trinamool Congress MP Derek O' Brien.

Brien said, "That is the only reason that Banerjee was not here. She would have been here 200%. But her mother is not well".

The chief minister conveyed goodwill to his Holiness not only from the people of Kolkata but also from the people of Bengal, he said.

Speaking at the function, the Dalai Lama said since March last "I have handed over four centuries of Tibetan tradition in which the Dalai Lama is both spiritual and temporal head. This I have ended voluntarily, happily, peacefully and proudly."

"As a refugee community, we are fully utilising democracy. Our administrative leaders are chosen through election. Since 2001, we have achieved an elected political leadership," he said.

The Dalai Lama also noted the development taking place in Kolkata.

"From the airport to the hotel I saw lot of construction coming up. This is a sign of development. But comfort at the physical level is not sufficient," he added.

"I am no longer a political leader. I don't like this visit to be politicised," said the Tibetan leader.

The Chinese consulate in Kolkata had sent a note to the West Bengal government, urging chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Narayanan not to attend the Dalai Lama's programmes in the state capital. The Dalai Lama refused to comment on the Chinese note.

Banerjee and Narayanan had been invited to a lecture on Mother Teresa by the Dalai Lama.

First Published: Dec 01, 2011 12:45 IST