DHARAMSALA, 19 Aug: The All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT) has joined the chorus demanding New Delhi confer Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award to the Tibetan Spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“The APIPFT which drew a sharp reaction from China after its first sitting last year, passed resolutions in its second meeting to demand that Bharat Ratna be conferred upon the Dalai Lama,” the Economic Times reported.
Additionally, the APIPFT has also demanded: “that a joint sitting of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha be addressed by the Buddhist spiritual leader”.
“The resolutions were finalised earlier this month and sent to the government”, the report added citing unnamed officials.
APIPFT was successfully revived last year after steadfast lobbying for days by the Tibetan Parliamentary delegation comprising of Parliamentarians Serta Tsultrim, Geshe Lharampa Gowo Lobsang Phende, Lhagyari Namgyal Dolkar, Geshe Atong Rinchen Gyaltsen, and Choedak Gyatso in the Indian capital.
According to the report, the forum, headed by Shri Sujeet Kumar, a member of the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India from Odisha as the Convener has also “lodged protests against the Chinese government’s interference in the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and stressed that the people of Tibet have a right to decide on the matter”.
The forum has 10 members consisting of lawmakers from India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Janata Dal (United), among others.
Apart from the APIPFT, India’s former Union minister Chanderesh Kumari, former Himachal Chief Minister Shanta Kumar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitesh Kumar, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the Tibet Support Group of Arunachal Pradesh, (TSGAP) Indian Parliamentary Forum of Tibet and the Rashtriya Syawamsevak Sangh (RSS) among others have all urged New Delhi to honour the Dalai Lama with Bharat Ratna.
To date, the highest civilian award in India has been conferred to only two non-Indians, Baloch leader Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan(1987) and Nelson Mandela(1990).