Unofficial media gag on talking to Dalai Lama

Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh) : A day after the Dalai Lama’s barbs at China, Arunachal Pradesh government officials Monday informally requested journalists not to ask any questions or interact with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

“Please don’t try to ask any questions to the Dalai Lama,” an official told a group of journalists without elaborating the reasons.

This is, however, seen as an attempt by New Delhi to avoid further embarrassment as the Dalai Lama interacted with journalists twice Sunday, hours after he landed in Tawang.

“Maybe the Indian government was caught in a tricky situation following the Dalai Lama’s statements on Sunday. The government cannot directly ask the Dalai Lama not to make political statements, so it took the other way round by asking local officials to request us not to interact with the spiritual leader,” a journalist covering the Dalai Lama’s visit said, requesting not to be named.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who arrived on a weeklong visit to the state Sunday, hit out at China during two separate interactions with journalists on the first day of his trip.

In both the interactions — about 10 minutes each — the Dalai Lama was more than willing to speak although they were impromptu media briefings and not arranged.

The Dalai Lama said Chinese opposition to his visit to Arunachal Pradesh was “totally baseless” and was on expected lines and nothing “unusual”.

He also charged Beijing of unnecessarily trying to accuse him of encouraging a “separatist movement” in Tibet.

“It’s quite usual for China to step up campaign against me wherever I go. It’s totally baseless on the part of Chinese Communist government to say that I am encouraging a separatist movement,” the Dalai Lama told journalists Sunday.

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