Ladakh Buddhists and merchants demand “unconditional apology” from Stobdan over his comments on Dalai Lama

DHARAMSALA, 1 June: The Buddhist community and traders in Ladakh have demanded “unconditional apology” from former Indian diplomat Phunchok Stobdan over his comments on the Tibetan spiritual leader over the backdrop of ongoing border tension between India and China.

The All Ladakh Buddhist Association and the Ladakh Gonpa Association have called out Stobdan for “hurting the sentiments” of the community, while the Merchant Association of Leh has declared a strike in a strike on Monday in “display of solidarity” according to a report on The Print.

Stobdan, India’s former Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan has questioned the Dalai Lama’s silence over China’s transgressions in eastern Ladakh and went as far as to accuse the Tibetan Nobel laureate of collaborating with China.  

“Dalai Lama has to speak and cannot keep focussing on his prayers while China eats away the land (in Ladakh). It doesn’t work like that. We have let him create a government in Dharamsala. He should offer a clarification that this is not Tibet’s land; it is India’s,” the report quoted Stobden of saying on Aaj Tak Hindi News.

“Is he doing it in collaboration with China? What is it? There is some confusion in the strategy,” Stobdan has said and added that “The question is why are Chinese coming there? Who told them it is their land? Chinese are far from there. That land belongs to the Tibetans. Why is Dalai Lama sitting idle in Dharamsala? Why is he not explaining it? He is hiding.”

The Thiksey and Diskit monasteries have called his remarks “highly objectionable” as they demanded an “unconditional apology” from him on Sunday.

The monasteries have declared the Dalai Lama not just an “epitome of peace and ambassador of humanity,” and called him “the most respected spiritual leader of hundreds of thousands of Buddhists around the world,” in their statement.

The merchant association has condemned the “usage of blasphemous language” by the former diplomat that hurt the sentiments of all Buddhist communities around the world. 

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