Minorities rights group condemns Mukherjee on Tibet issue

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Shimla, Apr 7 (UNI) A minorities right group today condemned External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his recent statement on Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama who, he said, should not indulge in political activity as he was an honoured guest of the country.

''Besides being an honoured guest of the country, he is also the temporal head of over six million Tibetans whose government-in-exile is based in Dharamshala in the country,'' All India Minorities and Social Welfare Council's (AIMSWC) chairman Rajeshwar Singh Negi told UNI here.

He said Mr Mukherjee's recent statement had not only hurt the sentiments of Buddhists across the world, but was also against the country's foreign policy, which has been the government's stated policy from the days of the country's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.

''India's support and protest against the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet are implicit in its granting asylum to such a political head of the state,'' he added.

"Ever since his arrival in India way back in 1959, the Dalai Lama had not indulged in or involved in any political activity antagonistic to the interests of the country, " Mr Negi said.

He observed that India which had shown great courage in granting political asylum to the Tibetans cannot show "cowardice" and get influenced and bow to the diktats of China now.

"The AIMSWC condemns the reign of terror unleashed against Tibetan monks and nuns in Lahasa, besides their forced indoctrination by the Chinese cadres and public security bureau through the patriotic education campaigns," he said.

Mr Negi said in order to highlight the Tibetans plight, all the countries of the world should boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics 2008 as done in 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow Games to highlight political and human rights violations.

UNI AS PS JS1702

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