Dalai Lama demands probe into violence in Tibet

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Dharamshala, Mar 16 (UNI) Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama today demanded an international investigation into the crackdown against protesters in Tibet, saying it was facing a ''cultural genocide.'' ''Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some cultural genocide is taking place there,'' he told newspersons here where the Tibet's government-in-exile is based.

The Dalai Lama said respected international organisations should find out what the situation was in Tibet and what was the cause of it.

''Whether the (Chinese) government there admits or not, there is a problem. There is an ancient cultural heritage that is facing serious danger,'' he said.

Denying China's charge that he was behind the violence, the worst since 1989, he said he was ''completely committed'' to non-violence and favoured a ''middle path'' which he said was also supported by some Chinese officials and scholars.

The Dalai Lama, who offered prayers before talking to the press, said ''we want genuine autonomy and not independence (from China).'' On the holding of Olympics, the Dalai Lama said he was not opposed to it. However, he said the international community had the ''moral responsibility'' to remind Beijing about human rights violations in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama's comments came after protests by Buddhist monks against Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent, leading to a crackdown by Chinese authorities in the region's capital, Lhasa.

Meanwhile, protests continued here and in Shimla against China over its violent suppression of Tibetans, who took out processions and made fiery speeches.

Hundreds of Tibetans held a protest march from Macleodganj to here raising anti-China slogans and Kangra SP Atul Fulzele said tight security arrangements had been made to avoid any untoward incident.

Tibetans also held a protest rally at Shimla town's historic Mall Road after breaching the police barricade, police said.

After peacefully protesting for a few moments near Sher-e-Punjab Dhaba, the Tibetan monks, nuns and youth breached police corridor and rushed towards Scandal Point where they raised anti-Chinese slogans.

They were later persuaded by the outnumbered state police officials not to raise slogans on the Mall Road and were led near the dhaba where they chanted slogans before disbursing.

Shimla DSP Madan told UNI that cases have been registered against 12 Tibetans for violating Section 144 and raising slogans and disturbing peace of the town.

UNI XC AS HS SP GC1940

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