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Mar 29, 2008 at 04:09pm IST

'China cloaking soldiers as monks to incite riots'

New Delhi: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Saturday alleged that Chinese soldiers disguised as monks were instigating riots in his homeland.

Dalai Lama joined religious leaders of several faiths at the memorial of Mahatama Gandhi, Rajghat, in New Delhi, to pray for those killed in the unrest in Tibet since March 10.

The exiled Tibetan leader told reporters later that he had come to New Delhi to take a course on Buddhist teaching and meditation, but his mind had been much distracted after the Lhasa uprising.

HARD TALK: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama addresses a press conference in New Delhi.

"Since March 10 (when riots begin in Lhasa), I am having the same experience that I had in 1959 (the year he fled to India from Tibet)," he said.

China was disguising its soldiers as monks to give the impression that Tibetans were instigating the riots, he added.

"In one picture, we see a lama holding a sword, but it is not a traditional Tibetan sword. We know that a few hundred soldiers have been dressed like monks," said the Dalai Lama, who fled his homeland in 1959 and lives in India along with some 100,000 Tibetan exiles.

Massive protests engulfed large parts of Lhasa and Tibet earlier this month challenging Beijing's rule in the region. This also sparked demonstrations by Tibetans in several countries, including India.

The Dalai Lama has his government-in-exile in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala. But the government is not recognised by any country.

Asserting he was not anti-China, the Dalai Lama said the official policy of the Chinese government was undermining Tibetan culture.

"There is evidence the Chinese people in Tibet are increasing month by month," he said.

He said he wanted "meaningful autonomy" in Tibet. "The whole world knows that we are not seeking independence, only China does not seem to know."

He described China as a "police state" with a "rule of terror". "It seems like a stable state, but underneath there is a lot of resentment."

The Dalai Lama said that China "deserved" to host the Olympic games. "But, at the same time, they should be reminded that if they wanted to be respected as hosts, civil rights and religious freedom should be improved."

He said India was giving Tibetans "maximum help", but acknowledged that it had ‘limitations’.

Meanwhile, China has said that it will compensate victims of anti-government protests in Tibet, a state news agency said Saturday, while diplomats were taken to visit the region in an effort by China to show it has restored order.

The government wants to enforce calm quickly following the riots, which drew attention to its human rights record as it prepares for this summer's Beijing Olympics.

(With AP inputs)

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