Dalai Lama recalls ex-Karnataka chief minister Nijalingappa’s help

January 29th, 2011 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Chitradurga (Karnataka), Jan 29 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Saturday paid glowing tributes to former Karnataka chief minister S. Nijalingappa for his help in settling thousands of Tibetan refugees in the state.”He helped thousands of Tibetans to get shelter. I cannot forget that gesture,” the Dalai Lama said of Nijalingappa, who was chief minister of Mysore state, as Karnataka was called then, in 1956-58 and again in 1962-68. He passed away in 2000.

“When I contacted Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (in 1956 after thousands of Tibetans fled to India), he asked me to meet Nijalingappa,” the Dalai Lama recalled after dedicating a memorial to the former chief minister.

The memorial has been built at Seebar village near this Karnataka town, about 200 km from Bangalore.

Karnataka now is home to the largest Tibetan settlement in India at Bylakuppe in Mysore district, about 240 km from Bangalore.

Nijalingappa offered 3,000 acres to around 3,000 refugees on Nehru’s suggestion.

With a steady flow of refugees over time, an additional 2,300 acres of adjacent land was given in 1969 to accommodate them.

Now, about 18,000 Tibetans, including 9,000 monks and nuns, dwell in this largest resettlement camp in India that houses two monasteries, a few temples with the Buddha and Tibetan deities, schools, hospitals, clinics, houses, hostels and shops.

Three more camps were set up in the state and total number of Tibetans in Karnataka is around 40,000 out of the 120,000 in India.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, union Labour and Employment Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge and leader of the opposition in Karnataka assembly Siddaramaiah of Congress also praised Nijalingappa’s service to the state and the country.

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