China to Bengal: Skip Dalai Lama talk

Dalai Lama

The Chinese consulate in Kolkata has asked the government to ensure that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor M K Narayanan do not attend any programme addressed by the Dalai Lama when he visits the city tomorrow.

The governor's office, however, confirmed that Narayanan would meet the Dalai Lama and listen to his speech. It is not known if Banerjee would be present.

Vice Consul Yu Li, who met the state home secretary yesterday, confirmed that an "official" note had been given to the government. Sources said the Chinese argued that the presence of either of the two would mean "government patronage". The government is said to have replied that who attends the Dalai Lama's programmes is an "internal matter."

Banerjee and Narayanan have been invited to a lecture on Mother Teresa by the Dalai Lama tomorrow. Behind the event is artist Sunita Kumar, a close associate of the Missionaries of Charity. He will also speak at the Indian Institue of Management, Joka.

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