Leh, Kargil towns observe shutdown; hold protests against bid to ‘defame’ Dalai Lama

, Apr 17: Leh and towns of the Union Territory observed a shutdown on Monday in protest against the “controversial video” of the Dalai Lama, which went viral of the social media, drawing criticism against the spiritual leader on social media. The Dalai Lama had apologized to a boy, his family and friends for the “hurt his words may have caused”, after a video clip purportedly showing the Tibetan spiritual head asking him to “suck” his tongue sparked a row.

In the two-minute-five-second video, the Dalai Lama also asked the child “to look at those good human beings who create peace, and happiness and not follow those who kill other people”.

Led by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), the protesters also condemned the “conspiracy to defame” the Dalai Lama and extended support to him, requesting him to continue spreading peace, love, and compassion.

All the shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads in Leh and Kargil districts in protests against “defaming the Dalai Lama by making a video viral on social media and comments made by various celebrities hurting religious feelings of Buddhists”.

Hundreds of people took out protest rallies in Leh and Kargil. They carried placards, religious flags amid pictures of spiritual leaders in protests against attempts to defame him. They raised slogans against those involved in it.

“Entire Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh observed shutdown. The people came on streets to protest against the attempt to defame Dalai Lama Ji. We are hurt over it,” a social leader S Samphel told reporters here.

The statement issued by the office of Dalai Lama had said, “A video clip has been circulating that shows a recent meeting when a young boy asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama if he could give him a hug. His Holiness wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the , for the hurt his words may have caused.” “His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras. He regrets the incident,” it said.