Tibetans mourn the demise of India’s former Defence Minister George Fernandes

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Former Defence Minister George Fernandes in Dharamsala, on March 10, 2007. Image: Tenzin Choejor

DHARAMSALA, Jan 30: Tibetans mourn the demise of India’s former Defence Minister George Mathew Fernandes, a prominent supporter of the Tibetan movement.

An old friend of the Tibetan spiritual leader and “a great friend of Tibet,” as described by the political head of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan leadership condoled the demise of India’s one of the most charismatic political figure.

“I admired him greatly because he dedicated himself to what he believed in, no matter how difficult the situation was. George was a great humanitarian and believer in truth. Throughout his life, he was a voice for the millions of poor and needy people of the country. He had a firm conviction in justice and wisdom. He was a real heroic leader,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said in a missive addressed to Shrimati Leila Kabir, the ex-wife of the late minister.

The Dalai Lama has further described the late Minister as a steady friend who was sympathetic to the Tibetan cause right from the beginning. “He never missed an opportunity to speak up for the Tibetan people as well as for others in a similar situation,” the Dalai Lama wrote.

The Tibetan spiritual leader concluded the missive by offering prayers for his late friend and the stated that he would always remember him.

President of the CTA and Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have both condoled the passing of George Fernandes.

While President Sangay described the late Minister as “the strongest voice on Tibet and a truly a great friend of Tibet,” Speaker Pema Jungney has said that the Tibetan people are eternally grateful for his strong and consistent support for the cause of Tibet since from 1959s.

CTA has organised a prayer service today at its headquarter in Gangchen Kyishong in the afternoon in honour of the India’s Former Defence Minister.

Fernandes passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday morning. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which had forced him out of the public eye for several years, and had recently contracted swine flu according to media reports.

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