HP govt maligning Karmapa, says Virbhadra

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Shimla, Feb 5 (PTI) Union Minister Virbhadra Singh todayaccused the state government of humiliating and maligningKarmapa over the foreign currency haul issue.

Addressing a press conference at Nurpur, the Congressleader and former chief minister said the behaviour of thestate government towards Karmapa, who is held in high esteemby Tibetans, was a matter of concern.

On alleged Benami land deals of some Tibetans, theMinister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise said insteadof taking action against them, these deals should beregularised and other benami deals by outsiders should bethoroughly probed.

He disagreed with the reported statement of the chiefminister asking the Tibetans not to hold rallies in support ofKarmapa and said that Karmapa was a revered personality and ifthe Tibetans were taking out rallies in his favour, the stategovernment should not interfere.

"India is a democratic country and it is not expectedfrom any leader to give such statements," he added.

Meanwhile, Singh''s reported remarks asking Chief MinisterP K Dhumal to tell whether he was a "Himachali or Punjabi"created a furore in the BJP with party General Secretary RamSwaroop and spokesperson Ganesh Dutt lashing out at him forthe "uncalled for" utterances.

Dhumal had been elected Chief Minister twice by thepeople of Himachal which was enough to prove his credentialsas a "staunch Himachali" and he did not need a certificatefrom any "Rajwara" (royal family), they said in an apparentreference to Singh''s royal lineage.

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