Allegations of Religious Persecution
(Delhi | June 19, 1996)

(To the Indian Prime Minister by Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable and Religious Society)

Your Excellency,

First, may we extend our warm congratulations on your being appointed Prime Minister of India.

We are a delegation from the Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable and Religious society, an India-based charitable organization with members and associated groups in over 20 countries throughout the world, including Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, the U.K., Switzerland, and the United States.

We are seeking to draw your attention to a problem that requires an urgent solution. We have become aware of serious human rights violations against many thousands of our members living in India. These human rights violations are being carried by Tibetan government-in-exile, headed by the Dalai Lama, against tens of thousands of Tibetans who are living in India and who worship one particular Buddhist Deity known as Dorje Shugden. This Deity has been worshipped for many generations by millions of people throughout the Mahayana Buddhist world.

We have become aware of the following human rights violations and acts of religious persecution:

  1. The Tibetan government-in-exile has carried out a forced signature campaign within all the Tibetan communities in India. People are being forced to sign a declaration stating that they will stop worshipping the Buddhist Deity.
  2. The Tibetan government-in-exile has threatened to withhold financial support provided by Western aid agencies from Tibetan refugees who refuse to sign the above mentioned declaration.
  3. Groups from the Tibetan Women's Association and the Tibetan Youth Congress have made house-to-house searches in the homes of Tibetan refugees to see who is worshipping the Deity Dorje Shugden. Religious images have been removed and destroyed. The houses of many religious teachers and monks who rely on this Deity have been smashed. People have been physically attacked and intimidated, and at least one monk has been hospitalized.
  4. Children whose parents engage in the practice of this Deity have been thrown out of Tibetan schools, and a number of Tibetan government employees have lost their jobs for refusing to give up the practice of this Deity.

Up to ten to fifteen years ago groups of Shugden practitioners pervaded throughout the Tibetan communities, including the monasteries of Gaden, Sera, and Drepung in South India. Now most of these groups have disappeared as a direct result of the Tibetan government-in-exile who, in the name of the Dalai Lama, has forbidden people worshipping this Deity.

In an action that his followers regarded as having a special significance and which they felt brought great blessings to the world at large and the Tibetan people in particular, the famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Kyabje Trichang Rinpoche, placed a greatly venerated statue of the Deity Dorje Shugden in the main temple of Gaden monastery in Mundgod, Karnataka. Monks of this monastery worshipped everyday in front of this statue. The Dalai Lama personally ordered the forcible removal of this statue against the monks' wishes. In addition, many images of this Deity belonging to monasteries, temples, and private individuals have been destroyed with the authority and approval of the Dalai Lama and his Government.

We feel sure that these actions taking place on Indian soil and under Indian jurisdiction must contravene Indian law and are against common laws of freedom as enshrined within the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

We respectfully request you to investigate these violations of human rights and to use your good offices to bring about a swift resolution of this problem. From our side we are seeking three things

  1. The immediate end to the persecution against the worshippers of Dorje Shugden, and a guarantee that this will not be restarted in the future and that people have complete freedom in their religious practice.
  2. The restoration of the practice of Dorje Shugden to its former status within the spiritual life of the Tibetan Buddhist community.
  3. The statue blessed by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche must be replaced to its former position within the main temple of Gaden monastery and the monks must be allowed to worship daily in front of this statue. In addition, reparation must be made for all the statues and images of this Deity that have been destroyed, and repaired and replaced images must be restored to their former shrines.

We enclose for your interest an information pack that chronicles these abuse of human rights.Yours with the deepest respect,

Signed:

Jampel Yeshe, President, Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable and Religious Society, Delhi

Sonam Yangdzom, Women's Representative

Nick Gillespie, Spokesperson for the Shugden Supporters Community in the West


Friends of Tibet (INDIA)
Friends of Tibet (INDIA), PO Box 16674, Bombay 400050
www.friendsoftibet.org