Srinagar: The spiritual leader of Buddhists, Dalai Lama, who is currently on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday visited Zanskar area of Kargil district where he called for religious harmony in the state but chose to remain silent on social boycott of local Muslims by the Buddhists, reports said.
The Zanskar region has seen tensions between the Muslim and the Buddhist community since 2012 after 22 ‘low caste’ Buddhist members converted to Islam in Padam area. In September 2012, the tension snowballed into communal clashes which left dozens of people injured while many of wounded persons from Muslim community were shifted to SKIMS Srinagar for treatment.
This year also, a clash took place on May 9 in which a Muslim youth was injured after being thrashed by a mob.
The Dalai Lama addressed a gathering of Muslim Community at Model Public School Padam on Wednesday. While stressing on religious harmony, the Dalai Lama called on both communities to live in peace and avoid clashes with each other. “He called for brotherhood and said all religions teach peace and brotherhood,” Fayaz Wani, president of the Muslim Association, told a Srinagar-based news agency GNS over phone.
The Dalai Lama was invited by local Muslim groups. Fayaz said they also presented a memorandum to the Dalai Lama in which they mentioned the hardships Muslim community is facing since 2012 at the hands of Buddhist community in the region.
Fayaz expressed his displeasure over Dalai Lama’s silence over ‘social boycott’ against Muslims. “He did not utter a single word over it, though we were expecting that he would speak on the issue,” Fayaz said, adding, “In the memorandum, we had also mentioned the issue of social boycott against us.”
“He told us that he has conveyed to Buddhists to maintain peace,” Fayaz said.
“The Dalai Lama addressed Muslim community. He spoke over the unity and appealed both the communities to live peacefully,” Muhammad Shafi, a local teacher, told GNS. “However, he was silent over social boycott against Muslims.”
MLA Zanskar, Feroz Ahmad Khan said he also met the Dalai Lama and apprised him about the situation. “I told him to play role in normalizing situation and I also told him about the issue of social boycott,” he said.