By Abhishek Madhukar| May 3, 2014
The 78-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate left Dharamsala, northern India, his Himalayan hometown in exile, on Saturday afternoon to head for Norway. As his convoy drove down the narrow roads of the tiny hill-town, hundreds of Tibetans as well as expat residents lined along the curb to get a glimpse of the spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama is due to arrive in Oslo on 7th May on a private visit to celebrate 25 years of the Nobel Peace Prize which he received on 10th December, 1989.
The Norwegian government has officially declared his visit as “private” and will not be organizing any official reception. The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg office’s statement that she will not be meeting with the Dalai Lama has disappointed many of his followers, but has won approval from the Chinese foreign ministry. The Norwegian government feels that official meetings may damage diplomatic relations between Norway and China. The relationship is already under stress after Norway’s Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, who China considers a dissident and has kept in prison.
Reports stated that around 400 supporters of the Dalai Lama, Norwegian as well as Tibetan along with a few Norwegian parliamentarian, gathered this Tuesday outside the parliament building in Oslo to express their disapproval and dissent against their leader’s decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama.
Abhishek Madhukar is a freelance photojournalist based in Dharamsala