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Dalai Lama fasts for peace from hospital bed

September 1, 2008

By Ramola Talwar Badam
The Associated Press
August 30, 2008

MUMBAI, India (AP) - The Dalai Lama participated in a 12-hour fast
for peace in Tibet on Saturday from his hospital bed in western
India, his spokesman said.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was unable to join nearly 2,000
Tibetan exiles fasting in his temple in Dharmsala, the northern
Indian headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, and instead
held his own fast, spokesman Tenzin Takla told The Associated Press.

The Dalai Lama, 73, flew to Mumbai, India's financial capital, on
Thursday and was admitted to Lilavati Hospital for tests for
abdominal discomfort. He is likely to leave the hospital in a day or
two, the spokesman said.

The Buddhist figure's supporters joined in the fast Saturday in
Dharmsala and prayed for his long life.

"The 12-hour fasting is to overcome and ease conflict and suffering
in the world and particularly for freedom and justice of the people
of Tibet and China," said a banner strung outside the temple.

A statement by his office on Friday said doctors "have given
assurances that there is absolutely no cause for concern. All that he
needs is a good rest."

He had just returned to India from an 11-day visit to France, capping
an intense few months since riots against Chinese rule broke out in
March in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, and a subsequent government crackdown.

The Dalai Lama spends several months a year traveling the globe to
highlight the struggle of Tibetans for greater freedom in China and
to teach Buddhism.

China blamed him for the unrest in Tibet, calling it a campaign to
split the Himalayan region from the rest of China. He has denied the
allegations.

The Dalai Lama has been living in the northern Indian town of
Dharmsala since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against
Chinese rule.

Associated Press writer Ashwini Bhatia in Dharmsala contributed to this report.
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