Mehbooba welcomes Dalai Lama, praises him for statement on Islam

JIGMET JANSPAL
LEH, JULY 30: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama who is currently on a visit to Leh in connection with an annual Buddhist function.
Addressing a large gathering here today, the Chief Minister highlighted the pluralistic ethos of Jammu and Kashmir and described it as the abode of different faiths and cultures. She said people living in amity and brotherhood is the specialty of the state and underlined the need for strengthening the bonds among various sections of the society.
Mehbooba Mufti praised Dalai Lama for his recent statement in which he had criticized the elements that were out to label Muslims as terrorists. The Dalai Lama had asked people to follow the path of harmony and amity with each other. She said the statement from such a towering personality was need of the hour and it reflects the unparallel spiritual stature of the Dalai Lama.
The Chief Minister wished Dalai Lama a long life and good health. She hoped that he would continue to visit the State in future and bless its people.
The Chief Minister said it is the intention of her Government to attract more and more tourists to Ladakh and market it appropriately in the tourism market. She said she has proposed to have annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through Leh which would increase the tourist footfall in the region by a great measure. She appreciated the people of Leh for maintaining a hygienic environment despite heavy tourist rush.
The Dalai Lama in his address expressed gratitude to the Chief Minister for her visit. He appreciated her massive public outreach saying that he is of the belief that she can get the State out of the difficulties with her sincerity, dedication and zeal. He said, many of the problems we faced in the world are created by humans themselves therefore we should find the means to solve them and need to think broadly without being pessimistic, narrow minded and shortsighted. We need to bring in the sense of oneness among human beings which will help in solving problems thus setting an example for the rest of the world of religious harmony. I have been to Ladakh and visited Zanskar, Nubra and Leh but today the CM has come here, so everything during my visit has been very successful and excellent. Thousands of devotees from across Ladakh and outside had gathered to attend the preaching.
Speaking on the occasion Tsewang Thinles (LBA President Leh) said, whichever place or country the Dalai Lama visits to bless them with his preaching are flourishing amidst peace and prosperity. It was a great occasion for us to attend his teachings and the People of Ladakh assure to follow the teachings. We hope that in future too he will continue visiting Ladakh for blessing and teaching, added Tsewang Thinles.
Minister for Cooperatives, Tsering Dorjey; legislators, Nawang Rigzin Jora and Deldan Namgyal; CEC, LAHDC, Dr Sonam Dawa; Executive Councillors of LAHDC and devotees of Dalai Lama from across the world besides religious and political leaders, monks, nuns, foreigners and locals were present during the occasion.
Later, the Chief Minister had a one-to-one interaction with the Dalai Lama.
Several deputations also met the Chief Minister during her day long stay here. These included deputations from political parties, social groups and people from some distant areas.
A deputation from Nubra sought bringing the scenic spots in the region into the focus of the tourist industry. A deputation from Changthang also demanded pacing up of developmental works in the area.
Another deputation demanded posting of adequate staff at various administrative units in the district so that Government functioning in these far flung areas is streamlined.
Earlier on her arrival, the Chief Minister was given a warm reception by members of the local civil society. She was presented the tradition khattak by the people as a token of love.
Minister for Cooperatives, Tsering Dorjey; Deputy Commissioner, Ramaswamy G; Superintendent of Police, Udhaybhaskar and other senior officers received the Chief Minister at the airport.