Buddhists living in fear in Buddha’s birthplace

KATHMANDU: Nepal's Buddhist community reacted with concern and indignation at the arrest of the Dalai Lama's envoy in Nepal, saying they were living in fear in Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha.
Though Thiley Lama, volunteer coordinator of the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office (TRWO) in Kathmandu, once part of the office of the Dalai Lama in Nepal, was released on Friday night after interrogation and detention for eight hours and made to sign an undertaking, the release has brought little cheer to the community, especially Tibetan Buddhists.

There are fears that the communist-led government of Nepal will tighten the screws on the TRWO, which remains vulnerable, especially after the government refusing to have it registered. Police officers asked Lama to get the organisation registered when the fact remains that it was shut down, under Chinese pressure, in 2005.

Though efforts were made to register a new organisation for the welfare of Tibetans, that too was closed in 2006 on the orders of the foreign ministry under pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Now the insistence on registration could mean further harassment by the authorities. In his undertaking, Lama had to also agree that he would inform the local authorities before holding any formal public programme, a move that is unusual.

Lama's arrest came on the eve of the visit to Nepal by a Chinese delegation that is reported to have come to inspect Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha in southern Nepal, to assess the possibilities of developing the sacred site with Chinese assistance.

"Each time a Chinese delegation comes to Nepal, red-robed monks are picked up routinely by police in the name of preventive detention," said a Buddhist monk who did not want to be named. "Spies are posted before leading monasteries and places of public worship - the stupas - are under surveillance."

Last month, the Nepal Buddhist Federation said the nearly 5,000 monasteries and nunneries in Nepal faced "systematic negative media campaign", including "baseless allegations" of possessing weapons". "Our monks and nuns live in perpetual fear," the Federation said.

China's growing clout in Nepal was evident once again this week after a controversial organisation, the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation, calling itself a Hong Kong-based body with Chinese government support, claimed it had signed a $3 billion deal to develop Lumbini but the Nepal government had no knowledge of it. When Nepal's culture secretary Modraj Dotel protested against the announcement, saying Nepal would not allow a plan made without the host country's consent, he was made to resign by the communist culture minister. 

Story source: Times of India

Stay tuned to Tibet Telegraph for more up coming stories

1 comment:

  1. An eye opening story, i never thought Nepal could be so susceptible to the Chinese influence. Much of that can be attributed to the Maoist regime in Nepal.
    This is shocking, thank you for sharing.