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Last updated: February 1, 2003

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Indian monks oppose Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna January 23, 2003
Buddhist monks have raised objections to the proposal to honour Tibetan leader Dalai Lama with the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour in India.
All India Monks Association general secretary Bhante Anand leads this section of Indian Buddhists, who are associated with the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya in Bihar.
"We would go to the extent of immolating ourselves before Parliament if the government makes any move or accepts any proposal to confer the Bharat Ratna on the Dalai Lama," Anand said on Wednesday.
This issue came up after some people launched a campaign last week seeking the Bharat Ratna for the Dalai Lama saying he is a friend and well-wisher who has helped in building a good image of India.
Claude Arpi, a well-known writer, is among those who support this demand.
Arpi said it is wrong to say that the Dalai Lama and his people have ever schemed against India.
The fact is that they have always been at the forefront of India's struggle for its integrity.
Around 3000 Tibetans helped the Indian Army win the 1971 war against Pakistan and liberate Bangladesh, he has said in an article.
Anand and some other Indian monks want the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorji, who heads a sect of the Buddhists, expelled from India.
It is believed they are unhappy with the Dalai Lama for his failure to support them over the efforts to gain control of the Mahabodhi temple, which stands near the spot where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago.

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.