Panjim, August 8: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Wednesday said Jawaharlal Nehru had a “self-centered attitude” to become India’s first prime minister even though Mahatma Gandhi was in favour of Muhammad Ali Jinnah taking the top post at that time.
He also claimed India’s partition would not have happened if Mahatma Gandhi’s wish of Jinnah becoming the prime minister had materialized.
The 83-year-old monk was addressing an event at the Goa Institute of Management in Goa’s Sankhalim town, located about 40 km from Panaji.
Responding to a student’s question on taking right decisions, he said, “I feel democratic systems are very good than the feudal system, which gives power of making decisions in the hands of a few people, which is more dangerous.”
“Now look at India. I think Mahatma Gandhiji was very much willing to give the prime ministership to Jinnah. But Pandit Nehru refused,” he said.
“I think it was a little bit self-centred attitude of Pandit Nehru that he should be the prime minister… Mahatma Gandhiji’s thinking, if it had materialised, then India, Pakistan would have been united,” he said.
“So Pandit Nehru, I know very well, (was) very experienced person, very wise but sometimes mistake also happens,” he said.
To a question on the biggest fear that he encountered in life, the spiritual leader recalled the day he had to escape from Tibet along with his supporters.
“On the night of March 17, 1959, after 10th March crisis which was result of the problem that started in 1956, we had to escape,” he said.
Recalling how the problem in Tibet with China had started becoming worse, he said the attitude of Chinese officers kept on being more and more aggressive.
“So then on 17th night, in spite of all my efforts to cool down the situation, that very day, I decided that I cannot remain here and I escaped,” he said.
“(In the) meantime, the feeling whether I will see tomorrow or not topped my mind,” he added.
The monk said the route from where they escaped was quite near the Chinese military base. While passing along a river they could see the military personnel, he said narrating his journey from the neighbouring country into India.
“So we were completely quiet. But we cannot control the noise of horses’ feet. We really felt scared,” he said.
He said next day at the dawn, they were passing through a mountain and there was “every danger” of Chinese soldiers coming from two different places to stop them. “That was a fearful journey.”
“At the age of 16, I lost my freedom. At the age of 24, I lost my country. For 17 years, there was lot of suffering and lot of destruction in the country, but we kept our determination,” the Dalai Lama said.
He said the China’s power is its military force. “We can say from the barrel of gun.”
“Our strength is truth. Temporarily, the power of gun is more decisive but in the long run, the power of truth is much more stronger than the power of gun,” he said.
The monk said Tibetans never consider Chinese people as their enemy.
“We respect them. We always look at them as our human brothers and sisters,” he added.
At the event, he also appealed to Muslims in India to make efforts to reduce Shia-Sunni conflicts that are prevalent in some other countries and asserted that Islam is a religion of peace.
He lamented the bloodshed over denominational differences, which he said should be avoided as Islam teaches compassion and harmony.
The Dalai Lama stressed the need for international brotherhood and harmony. “We are part of the world of seven billion human beings. Sometimes, I suggested that the Indian community in America, England and different European countries should invite some Europeans during Diwali and New Year, and talk about ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence) which is the basis of religious tolerance,” he said.
Sunni and Shia are two major denominations of Islam. They chose sides after the death of Islamic prophet Muhammad in AD 632. “Muslims across the globe follow the same Quran and also pray five times a day. However, there are killing each other owing to differences between the sects like Shia and Sunni,” he said.
The Dalai Lama said, “I was in Ladakh. I suggested to Ladakhi Muslims that Indian Muslims should make some efforts to reduce the conflict between Shias and Sunnis”. He told the audience that a national conference of Muslims would be organised in the coming months, which will be followed by a similar convention at the international level. He said modern India has remained by and large peaceful due to the over 1000-year-old history of religious harmony.
5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass
Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.
The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.
The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.
The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.
“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.
A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.
“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.
A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”
Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.
A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.
Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation
Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.
In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.
Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.
The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.
Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.
Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.
Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today
Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.
With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.
“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.
He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.
On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.
Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.
Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.
Jammu city recorded 5.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.
Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian
Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.
Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.
The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.
A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.
Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.
This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.
Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.
In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.
A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.
“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.
The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.
Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.
A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.
He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.