India hosted people facing rough times, says BJP leader Ram Madhav

Dharamsala: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Madhav on Saturday said India has always hosted people in difficult times with an open heart.
Speaking here at an inaugural event to mark the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India, he said: “We know the life of a refugee is very tough… we hosted many people in trouble. India always welcomes with open arms and with an open heart those in difficulty.”
Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and members of Parliament — Shanta Kumar of BJP and Satyavrat Chaturvedi of Congress — were also present at the event along with Nobel Peace Laureate the Dalai Lama and functionalities of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), comprising its President Lobsang Sangay.
Addressing the Tibetan administration-in-exile based here, Madhav said: “Friends, we don’t want to use the word refugee (for you). This is your land. At the most, you are in exile and Tibet is waiting for you.”
He said India also gave shelter to the Jews and Parsi communities.
“India has always played an affectionate and endearing host to all those who chose its lands as temporary home and spiritual abode. Jews came, Parsis came and many others too landed in India seeking refuge. India has welcomed them with open arms and with an open heart.”
“We can understand the life of a refugee with the loss of livelihood and the life is in struggle. But thanks to His Holiness and the people who came here (in 1959),” the BJP leader said.
After initially cancelling events in Delhi, the Tibetan government-in-exile has now started countrywide “Thank You India” programme to mark the beginning of the 60th year of the Dalai Lama arriving in India.
Union Culture Minister Sharma said it was indeed an emotional moment “for us”.
The Dalai Lama got emotional on Saturday as he embraced one of the five Assam Rifles troopers, Naren Chandra Das, who escorted him in India after his escape from Tibet.
In 1959, as a young trooper Das, now 80, escorted the Dalai Lama, now 82, on his arrival in Arunachal Pradesh.
“I feel blessed once again as His Holiness touched me and bumped his head with my head,” Das told reporters after he was honoured by the leader here. Das said he was overwhelmed by the gesture of His Holiness for inviting him. — IANS