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Indian leaders to attend Dalai Lama's Birthday event

July 6, 2009

Dharamsala, July 5: Several Indian leaders, including former president of
India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Chief Ministers of Himalayan states, are
expected to attend a special celebration event on Monday to mark His
Holiness the Dalai Lama's 74th birthday in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association in collaboration with All Buddhist
Organization of Himalayan Region have planned the grand celebration event
"as a tribute of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the people of
Tibet," a press release of the event said.

On this auspicious occasion, with the divine presence of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, Former President of India, Honorable Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will
be the Chief Guest, the statement said of the event to be held at Mavalankar
Hall, Rafi Marg, in New Delhi.

"Chief Ministers of all Himalayan States namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal
Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and the Spiritual
religious head of the Himalaya region will grace the function as Guest of
Honor and Special Guest respectively," it added.

"As India and Tibet shares an aged-old bilateral relations of Guru-Shisya
parampara, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been instrumental in benefiting
and enriching the people of Himalayan region," it said.

However, Sikkim CM Mr Pawan Chamling and Jammu & Kashmir CM Mr Omar
Abdullah, although they had confirmed their participation earlier, are
unlikely to attend the event due to last minute inconveniences, according to

Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and Arunachal Pradesh CM Dorjee Khandu
are already in the capital to join the event, Tenzin Lekshay, a coordinator
for the event told

According to Lekshey, situation in Kashmir could be the reason for Abdulla's
cancellation, but refused to comment on Sikkim CM's position. Lekshey also
said he could not confirm the participation of Uttrakhand's new chief
minister, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

"However, in their absence, they have respectively deputed high-level state
representatives to attend the event," Lekshey said.

"It is going to be a very, very big function and right now we are not able
to estimate how many people will turn up," Lekshey said.

"And there are several cultural troupes from different regional places of
the Himalayan states performing for the event tomorrow," he added.

In Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet's government in exile, and elsewhere around
the world, Tibetans exiles will hold celebrations to mark their revered and
supreme leader's birthday. As part of the celebration, Tibetans will offer
prayers for the well being and long life of their leader.

In Dharamsala, Dalai lama's birthday celebration kick-started on Sunday
afternoon with an Indo-Tibetan cultural show at the Tibetan Institute of
Performing Arts (TIPA). Several Indian and Tibetan officials too part in a
special event organized by a leading Indian daily newspaper Amar Ujala.
During the show, school children and professional artistes from the local
Indian and Tibetan communities performed musical plays and cultural dances.
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