The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chinese whispers miff Tawang
- Monks await Dalai Lama

New Delhi/Tawang, Nov. 28: The country’s biggest monastery, the Galden Namgyel Lhatse in Tawang, has blamed Delhi for not allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang.

“The Dalai Lama has visited this place before and had promised to be here in 2007 but since he is not coming here, people think and suspect that it is because of the Indian policy on China and the neighbouring country’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh,” said the monastery’s third head, Lama Nawang Norbu.

On his last visit to Tawang in 2003, the exiled Tibetan leader had told lamas here that he would conduct a puja of the deities Lokeshwara and Manjushri this year.

However, diplomacy has prevented New Delhi from speaking loudly on Arunachal Pradesh despite China’s persistent claims on Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh. India’s insistence to speak in whispers on the issue while negotiations with Beijing are in progress at the political level is understood but not accepted at the monastery.

Norbu said once the Tibetan leader comes here, “people will be reassured”.

Most lamas here speak fluent Hindi but while speaking officially to the minister, Norbu spoke in Bodhi through an interpreter.

Minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh assured Norbu that he would ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into the matter.

“For us, he is our leader and his visit means a lot to us,” said Lama Tashi, on deputation at this Mahayana Buddhism monastery from Bangalore.

The minister, in Tawang to inaugurate the Buddha Mahotsav, had to listen to the anti-China story several times over from politicians, civilians and finally, from the spiritual leaders. Only when Ramesh emphatically said Arunachal Pradesh “is an integral part of India” was the gathering pacified.

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