Open Letter to Indian External Affairs Minister: Act Against CIA Funded Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Respected Minister,

The nation is witness to strong arm tactics against activists who have allegedly received tainted foreign funds for their work amongst the underprivileged. Laws like UAPA, sedition, NSA, IPC have been slapped against these activists who are languishing in jails for years without any bail. Agencies like CBI, ED, CBDT, NIA, IB, RAW, police have “obliged’ the rulers in this crackdown for about a decade. The victims include those allegedly involved in Bhima Koregaon violence; Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand; Muslim activists of Popular Front of India (PFI); Muslim movement leaders in Kashmir; the Christians particularly in northeast India and lately Punjabi immigrants (Sikhs) to Canada. To create terror in the minds of citizens, nationwide raids are staged and the public is told immediately that incriminatory documents/weapons have been found in the premises of those raided. The corporate press is ever ready to pimp on behalf of the authorities. The media is fed by the very authorities whose job it is to prevent media trials. Presently the media is splashing pages after pages with half-baked news regarding Canadian citizens espousing separatist cause allegedly with money got through dubious means. The Union Home Ministry is working overtime in this ‘cleansing’ operation.

Sir, you are well aware that the Dalai Lama has been a recipient of CIA funds for decades starting from 1959 – when he and his followers entered India illegally without any visa to set up a base camp demanding independence of Tibet from China. Why should the Government of India be extending help to these Tibetan Separatists? While the funding of separatist activists in Canada is yet to be proved in a court of law, the Dalai Lama’s administration has itself confessed in full glare of international media about his CIA funding: (Quote).

“Dalai Lama Group Says It Got Money From C.I.A.

The Dalai Lama’s administration acknowledged today that it received $1.7 million a year in the 1960’s from the Central Intelligence Agency, but denied reports that the Tibetan leader benefited personally from an annual subsidy of $180,000.

The money allocated for the resistance movement was spent on training volunteers and paying for guerrilla operations against the Chinese, the Tibetan government-in-exile said in a statement. It added that the subsidy earmarked for the Dalai Lama was spent on setting up offices in Geneva and New York and on international lobbying.” (The New York Times, Oct 2, 1998)

Sir, do you have the courage to subject the Dalai Lama to the same treatment extended to say separatist activists based in Canada? Would the Indian media ever write pages after pages on a daily basis on the CIA funding and separatist activities of the Tibetan protesters who indulge in violent protests including self-immolation? Lately you have been talking ad infinitum about the double standards of western countries. We stand by you on this observation. But allow me to point out that you, too, are seen to be indulging in double standards. Why should the Dalai Lama’s separatist activities be supported even as Kashmiri movement leaders are thrown in jails for demanding the right to self-determination? The corporate press parrots the alleged findings of investigative agencies; terms like hawala transactions; benami properties; money laundering; narco trafficking; extortion; gang wars; are thrown in to damn the credibility of alleged accused. The recent media blitzkrieg against Punjabi immigrants in Canada has painted the entire Sikh community as Khalistanis. This way the rulers could consolidate Hindu votes. In 1984 a similar scurrilous campaign against Sikhs ensured 400 plus Lok Sabha seats for the then ruling party. Is the Modi Government tempted to use this template to garner 400 plus seats in 2024 general elections? Sikhs sure come in handy for political parties to garner absolute majority in Lok Sabha.

It is just as well to add that the Indian Constitution refers to Sikhs as part of Hindus. If that be so, why does your government and the corporate press talk of Sikh separatists as if they are not Hindus? Have you ever referred to:

  • Dalai Lama as Buddhist separatist
  • Tamil militants espousing the cause of Tamil Eelam as Hindu separatists
  • United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) as a Hindu Separatist Organisation
  • Dravidistan separatist movement as a failed Hindu separatist attempt
  • Achutistan separatist movement as a failed Hindu separatist endeavour?

It is only in relation to Sikhs, Muslims and Christians that you have a different policy. As in the case of Tamil militants and ULFA you could refer to separatists in Canada as Punjabi separatists. Your policy appears to be to give the name of the language spoken/state name when it comes to Hindu separatists. Apply the same policy to all sections of Indian society uniformly. Else the charge of double standards will stick on you and your mentors. As a person born in the Sikh faith I feel deserted, ditched, damned, demonised and defamed by the statements of the rulers in relation to the Indo-Canada conflict. The perpetrators of 1984 Sikh genocide have not been brought to justice. Besides L.K. Advani’s support to Mrs. Gandhi on army being sent for assault on Golden Temple is not forgotten.

My unflinching political views are:

Neither Hindu Rashtra nor Khalistan,

United shall stand Hindustan

Both the Hindu Rashtra and Khalistan are outside the pale of the present Indian Constitution.

[P.S. On 3rd October 2023 NewsClick founder, Prabir Purkayastha was arrested in connection with a case which was registered after an investigation published on 5 August 2023 in the New York Times alleged that NewsClick was part of a global network that received money for pushing Chinese propaganda. Incidentally it was the same paper which had published the news report about the Dalai Lama’s CIA funding.]

P.S. Sahni is a member of a non-funded, non-party organization, PIL Watch Group. The views expressed are personal – the outpourings of an anguished soul.

Email: [email protected]

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