Tibetan spiritual leader 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. Dalai Lama has lived in exile ever since fleeing Tibet in March 1959. “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 at an event in Dharamsala to mark the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India.
Das said he was overwhelmed by the gesture of His Holiness for inviting him. The event marked the onset of a year-long ‘Thank You India’ campaign. Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Members of Parliament Shanta Kumar and Satyavrat Chaturvedi were also present in the event along with functionalities of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), comprising its President Lobsang Sangay. In 2017, Das was reunited with the Dalai Lama for the first time in 58 years at a festival organised by the Assam government.
Das, who joined the force in 1957, said he was told to escort the Dalai Lama along with others. “We were directed only to escort the Dalai Lama and not to speak with him,” said Das. He was then posted at Lungla near the China border after having completed his training at Tawang in the then North East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh, he said. The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing China in 1959 after a failed uprising against Communist rule in Tibet.