Congress defends government's Tibet policy

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New Delhi, Apr 12 (UNI) Amid criticism about the handling of the Tibetan issue by the UPA government, the Congress today asserted that India was the only country that had given shelter to maximum number of refugees from Tibet.

AICC General Secretary in charge of Media Veerappa Moily said India had always held Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama in high esteem.

In this context, he quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as describing the Dalai Lama as the "greatest living Gandhian".

At the same time, the Congress was of the opinion that the Tibetans should not engage in political activity on Indian soil.

As residents of India, the world's largest democracy, the government could not curtail the democratic right of the Tibetans to hold peaceful protests and demonstrations.

However, they should not engage in violent protests on Indian soil, Mr Moily said, apparently referring to the threat from some Tibetan groups to disrupt the Indian leg of the Olympic torch relay.

Mr Moily also congratulated the people of Nepal for the peaceful election to the Constituent Assembly on April 10.

Mr Moily, who led a delegation of Congress leaders to Nepal ahead of the elections, said that "we have talked to leaders of all political parties. We expressed our desire to see that there was a peaceful election. " UNI SH RR AS1844

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