Govt halts Dalai Lama birthday celebration

Kathmandu, July 5

The government has beefed up security in areas inside Kathmandu valley where Tibetan refugees and people of Tibetan origin reside ahead of the 84th birthday celebration of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Lhamo Thondup, who is taking refuge in Dharamshala of India, was born on 6 July 1935. To mark his birthday, Tibetan refugees and people of Tibetan origin are planning to hold several events in the valley tomorrow.

One of the places where the programme was scheduled to be held was Mustang Gumba in Swoyambhunath, according to high-level security sources. “But police have been dispatched to the place to halt the programme,” a security source said.

The programme, according to security sources, was to be attended by senior diplomats of western countries, including the US, Germany and the UK.

“These diplomats have expressed serious concerns about the forced cancellation of the event, which is a severe violation of rights of people of the Tibetan community,” said a western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

The government generally intervenes in events organised by the Tibetan community stating Nepal is committed to ‘One China Policy’.

“We stop any event that goes against this policy,” said Spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs Ram Krishna Regmi.

Most of the people of the Tibetan origin reside in Jawlakhel, Boudhanath and Swoyambhunath

areas of the valley. “These are some of the places where events are held to mark the birthday of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Uprising Day, which falls on March 10,” said the security source, adding, “Security is beefed up in these areas ahead of these occasions.”

This, however, does not mean people of Tibetan community cannot celebrate the occasions. “They can do so privately at their homes,” the security source said. “They are only barred from organising events in public places, including hotels.”