India rapped by Tibetan official over axed Ansari-Dalai Lama meet

March 25th, 2008 - 3:28 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) The Tibetan government-in-exile is upset over the last minute cancellation of a scheduled meeting between their leader the Dalai Lama and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and suspects that New Delhi acted under pressure from Beijing. “I feel India is bucking under the Chinese pressure,” an official of the Bureau of the Dalai Lama here told IANS Tuesday, confirming the cancellation of the meeting between the Tibetan spiritual leader and Ansari that was scheduled for Monday.

The meeting was arranged at least two months before violence in Lhasa broke out this month, leading to a sweeping Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protesters.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters Friday that vice president Ansari would meet the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, during his two-week stay in New Delhi.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said that India had clarified that the vice president had no plans to meet the Dalai Lama, following a “rumour” about such a meeting.

“Every Tibetan or lover of truth will feel hurt and angry at the insult hurled at the Dalai Lama by Beijing,” the Tibetan official who did not wish to be named said.

Tempa Tsering, representative of the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, however, chose to be tactful and thanked India for providing refuge to the Dalai Lama and his followers.

He was, however, unstinting in slamming Beijing’s “lies” about the Dalai Lama’s alleged involvement in the Tibetan violence, the worst unrest in two decades.

“The riots in Tibet were spontaneous expressions of resentment against the policies of the Chinese government. It was tanked up anger that found expression in Lhasa,” Tsering said.

While the Tibetan government-in-exile based in the Indian town of Dharamsala says that over 140 Tibetans have been killed by Chinese forces in Tibet, Beijing puts the toll at 22.

Tsering called for impartial international observers to go to Tibet and find out the truth about the situation.

Without referring to the proposed meeting between the Indian vice president and Dalai Lama, Chinese envoy Zhang Yan urged India not to be misled by the “lies” of the Tibetan leader.

China has also warned against any international “meddling” in its “internal affairs” while expressing disapproval of the meeting between US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

In the wake of the Tibetan unrest, India has said there will be no change in its one-China policy. New Delhi has called for a non-violent resolution of the Tibetan issue through dialogue.

Premier Wen Jiabao has said that Beijing “appreciates” the stand taken by the Indian government.

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