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Dalai Lama firm on retirement, rejects lawmakers' plea

Saturday March 19, 2011 06:48:23 PM, IANS

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Dharamsala, March 19 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Saturday turned down the plea of lawmakers of the parliament-in-exile to reconsider his retirement plans, his aides said here.

"His Holiness Dalai Lama has rejected the request of the Tibetan parliament. His decision is final," the spiritual leader's private secretary Chimme Choekyappa told IANS.

"Our office has sent back the copy of resolution to the office of parliament," he added.

Earlier in the day, Speaker Penpa Tsering submitted a resolution passed by parliament Friday to the Dalai Lama for his re-consideration. "We sent the resolution passed by 37 members to the Dalai Lama's office," he said.

But the 75-year-old Nobel laureate Saturday reiterated his firmness on the decision and no intention of backing out.

"His Holiness said in his address during teaching in the morning that he has no intention of backing down. He is the only person to decide and any decision will only be his," said Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama's office.

After two days of extensive deliberations, the resolution was passed.

"During the ongoing debate in the parliament, the proposal of His Holiness was discussed in detail. Only one member (Tenzin Chonden) favoured the proposal. Rest of them beseeched that His Holiness should continue to lead the Tibetan people to the path of democracy - both as spiritual and political leader," Tsering said.

During the debate, Chonden insisted on acceding to the Dalai Lama's appeal and act as per his wishes. The 43-member house is being attended by 38, including the speaker and the deputy speaker.

The cabinet has already acceded to the Dalai Lama's decision to retire.

As the budget session began March 14, the Nobel laureate's message was read out by Tsering. "My intention to devolve political authority derives neither from a wish to shirk responsibility nor because I am disheartened," said the message.

On the second day of the parliament session, prime minister-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche informed the house: "With a heavy heart, we have to accept His Holiness' decision of retirement as political head of the state."

The spiritual leader requested the parliamentarians March 10 to make suitable amendments to the exiled government's constitution, paving the way for him to step down.

Nearly six million Tibetans live in Tibet while over 150,000 live in other countries, most of them in India.







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Picture of the Day

President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing at the inauguration of the National Festival of Tribal Dances, ‘PRAKRITI’, in New Delhi on March 16, 2011. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture, Kum. Selja, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Kantilal Bhuria and Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadev S. Khandela are also seen.

(Photo: Mukesh Kumar)



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