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India says Dalai Lama a revered leader, free to carry out religious activities

Raveesh Kumar said The Dalai Lama was a revered leader who was deeply respected by the people of India and there was no change in government’s position on it.

The statement comes days after India banned Tibetans from holding a rally with the Dalai Lama in the Indian capital earlier this month to mark the 60th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Relations between China and India have been tense in recent months after their troops faced off on a disputed part of their border. China was also angered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s February visit to northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, also claimed by China.

Authorities in India and Nepal have previously banned protests against China by Tibetans during sensitive times, such as visits by Chinese leaders.

China took control of Tibet in 1950 in what it calls a “peaceful liberation” of the remote, Himalayan region. An uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet erupted in 1958 and troops crushed it the following year. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled from the crackdown and was granted asylum in India.

The Dalai Lama has lived mostly in Dharamsala, where his supporters run a small government in exile and advocate for autonomy for Tibet by peaceful means.

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