Minnesota: As the Tibetan Spiritual Leader the Dalai Lama leaves Minnesota for Washington D.C. on Monday, twenty five Tibetan Associations in the States warned the government of Washington D.C. that the security of the Tibetan spiritual leader is under threat.
The warning comes following a series of protests by a group of “Shugden” followers, alleging the Dalai Lama of persecuting the followers of the controvertial Buddhist “deity Shugden” that the Tibetan spiritual leader had denounced decades ago.
In a press statement endorsed by two elected members of the Tibetan Parliament in exile from North America— Tashi Namgyal and Norbu Tsering, Tibetan Associations in America strongly condemned the recent Buddhist faction protest while urging the Washington government to strengthen the security of the Dalai Lama.
“We the elected members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile from North America and Tibetan Associations of North America are gravely concerned by recent events that took place during the current visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the United States,” read the statement on Tuesday, a copy which is with this reporter.
“While thousands of fellow Americans celebrated the Dalai Lama’s visit to California, we Tibetan Americans have been shocked to see our respected leader, His Holiness (Dalai Lama), personally slandered by a group of religious extremists calling themselves the ‘International Shugden Community’ approaching His Holiness at close quarters and slandering him,” read the statement signed by twenty five Tibetan Associations in the country.
“The Shugden group has caused security concerns to the person of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” added the statement.
On Sunday thousands of Tibetans filled an auditorium at Augsburg College in Minnesota, celebrating the Tibetan new year and rejoicing the presence of the Tibetan spiritual leader who was in the twin cities for a series of events including a meeting with a group of Chinese and Tibetan students in the state.
Hearing the news of protests in San Francisco on Saturday, Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota held an urgent meeting before the Dalai Lama’s visit to the state, urging its members to be vigilant during the Dalai lama’s visit.
The Losar (Tibetan new year) celebration went without interruption but many have celebrated the Dalai Lama’s first ever Losar outside India under fear in light of recent protests by the “Shugden” followers.
During his five-minute speech at the Losar celebration, Tibetan Prime Minister Dr. Lobsang Sangay also expressed grave concern about the safety and security of the Dalai Lama, comdemning the protests by “Shugten” practioners.
The Dalai Lama who is currently on a three-week talking visit to the United States had urged his devottees to ban “Dorje Shugden”, saying it’s a spirit, not a deity and posing a threat to the interests of all Tibetans.