India denies foreign press barred from Dalai Lama's visit

New Delhi : The government Thursday denied that it has restricted foreign journalists from covering the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh later this week.

To travel to Arunachal Pradesh, a protected area permit is required.

“The ministry of external affairs, the nodal agency for foreign correspondents, recommends them to the ministry of home affairs when applications are made to visit Arunachal Pradesh,” official sources said here.

“No foreign journalist has been denied a permit so far. The applications are under consideration. Due process is being followed,” the sources said.

The clarification comes in the wake of a media report that claimed that the government had revoked passes previously provided to four of them, including two Associated Press journalists.

China has vehemently opposed the Tibetan leader’s visit to a Buddhist monastery in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh Sunday and has accused Dalai Lama of trying to wreck the India-China ties.

India has made it clear that the Dalai Lama, who has been living in the hill resort of Dharamsala since 1959, can visit anywhere in the country provided he does not indulge in political activities.

China claims sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh and has opposed the visits of Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to India’s northeastern state which it suspects are aimed at consolidating India’s hold over the region.

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