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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama cautions against forced religious conversion

January 5, 2015

Indian Express, January 2, 2015 - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday said that everybody has the right to convert their religion. Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of an event where he got the Santokbaa award for peace, he said, “I am strictly against forced religious conversion. In a secular country each and every body has got the right to convert his or her religion. Long back ago, many Muslim people staying in Tibet country converted to Buddhism. They had not converted forcefully but by other means like marriage or other reasons. The Christian missionaries do good work in rural areas in India but we have found that in European countries they forcefully convert non- Christians. This should not be done.”

Gujarat Governor OP Kohli presented the Dalai Lama the Matushri Santokbaa award at Sanjeev Kumar auditorium in the presence of diamond baron Govind Dholakia and his family on Friday. The award is in memory of Dholakia’s late mother Santokbaa.

This is for the first time that the name of an international personality like the Dalai Lama has been shortlisted for such award.

The Dalai Lama said, “I am highly obliged by such a great honour given to me. We have got great bonding with the India and its people.  India and China are known as agricultural countries and they are identified from their rural areas. The development is lacking in rural India, as a result of which, people from villages are marching towards the urban areas.

We have found that humanity has been gone missing in cities. There is a big gap between elite class and poor class in cities. The gap should be filled up and government should take proper steps. In rural areas, we have found that there is major problem of health and education and government should sincerely work for it. The economic condition of India is good but it is not stable and to maintain it government should proactively work in rural areas.”

On the question of who would be the next Dalai Lama, he said, “I have already told that there would be no further dalai lama. In Buddhism, such tradition at present is not needed.”

About India and China relations growing in Narendra Modi’s rule, the Dalai Lama said, “It is a good thing for the mankind that relations between two countries are growing better. We are not against such relations. Our fight is for freedom and such relations will never affect our relations with India.

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