Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama will not attend the Indian Science Congress, which begins in Manipur on Friday, even though he is listed as one of the chief guests for the event.
General President of the Indian Science Congress Association Achyuta Samanta told PTI that the Dalai Lama had been invited for the 105th edition of the conference, but said he would not be able to attend it. “We were also told that he had visited Manipur two months ago,” Samanta was quoted as saying.
This comes weeks after the Centre reportedly directed senior leaders and government functionaries to avoid events the Tibetan government in exile planned in India as it was a “very sensitive time” for India’s relations with China.
Officials from the Tibetan government in exile told The Indian Express that the Dalai Lama will be in Dharamsala for the next five to six days and had no plans to visit Manipur this week.
“His Holiness is attending the 33rd Mind & Life Dialogue ‘Reimagining Human Flourishing’ at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala from March 12 to March 16,” Tseten Samdup Chhoekyapa from the Dalai Lama’s office told The Indian Express.
The Tibetan administration has been cancelling events it planned in India since the report on Indian government officials being asked to avoid them. India’s Ministry of External Affairs, however, had said the country’s position on the Dalai Lama was “clear and consistent”, though it made no mention of the report in its statement.
The Indian Science Congress – the largest gathering of Indian scientists – was scheduled to be held at Osmania University in Hyderabad from January 3 to 7. For the first time in its history, it had to be rescheduled to March 16 to March 20 and its venue moved to the Manipur University after the administration of Osmania University said it would not be able to host the event fearing agitations on campus.