On Dalai Lama's birthday, Nepal prevents Tibetan celebrations


Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he speaks during a students gathering at the Mumbai University in Mumbai on February 18, 2011.


Punit Paranjpe

Nepal prevented Tibetans from celebrating the birthday of the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader, Wednesday out of fears of protests against China.

Tibetans tried to hold celebrations at the Namgyal school in Katmandu, but hundreds of riot police prevented them from entering the grounds, the Associated Press reports. Police stopped all Tibetans -- including monks and nuns -- who were not children in school uniforms.

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This was the 76th birthday of the Dalai Lama, who lives in Dharmsala, India, since fleeing Tibet in 1959.

The AP reports that Tibetan gatherings in Nepal usually morph into protests against China and demands that the Chinese stop ruling their homeland. To prevent this, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, chief government administrator of Katmandu district, banned all public demonstrations.

Meanwhile, morning prayers for the Dalai Lama were held in Dharmsala Tuesday, IANS reports.

The Tibetan cabinet, the Kashag, said in a statement that it was grateful for the Dalai Lama's commitment, it states.

"On this extraordinary day, the Kashag would wish to gratefully thank and remember the visionary steps that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, took in the democratisation of the Tibetan polity and devolving all his powers to the elected Tibetan leadership, which will represent the six million Tibetans living in and outside Tibet," the statement said.

Thousands of Tibetans have fled to Nepal and have been living there for the past few decades.

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