Dalai Lama leads prayer for victims of Tibet unrest
(dpa) - Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Saturday led an inter-faith prayer meeting in New Delhi in remembrance of Tibetans who lost their lives and were injured during the recent protests in China.
Leaders from various religions and sects joined the Dalai Lama in the mass prayer at Rajghat memorial to the leader of India's freedom movement and apostle of peace, Mahatma Gandhi.
Following the prayer meeting that was held amid tight security, many Tibetans and the religious leaders observed silence for a few minutes as a mark of respect for the victims.
According to the organizers, leaders from the Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities participated in the prayer meeting.
Anti-China demonstrations and unrest erupted in Tibet on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. Three days later, those protests escalated into riots in Lhasa.
The Chinese government has said 22 people were killed in the violence in Tibet, but the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile said it confirmed the deaths of about 140 people, many of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.
Talking to reporters after the prayer, the Tibetan leader appealed to the international community to help resolve the crisis in Tibet.
"We have no power except justice, truth, sincerity ... which is why I appeal to the world community to please help," the Dalai Lama told reporters. "I am here helpless, I just pray," he said.
He said the Chinese leadership had no experience about democracy and the way it works. "So when Tibetans express themselves, then China says we do crazy things," he said.
He also sought to allay China's fears about the relay of the Olympic torch in India, indicating that he favoured safe passage of the flame.
"I have said they (China) deserve to host the famous game as it is the most populous nation of the world. My position is the same despite the suppression in Tibet," he told reporters in Delhi.
"The Olympic torch is part of the game and my attitude towards it is the same," he said.
The comments assume significance as China is worried that Tibetans could cause trouble when the Olympic flame passes through India on April 17.
The Chinese embassy has already conveyed its concern to the Indian authorities, saying that the Olympic torch relay in India could be scrapped if adequate security was not provided.
The Dalai Lama lives in exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala but spends a great deal of time travelling across the world giving lectures on Buddhism and holding meditation workshops.