The South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) today called on India to arrest and prosecute the Dalai Lama for “child abuse” after the controversy unleashed by a video broadcast on social networks in which the Buddhist leader asks a child to “suck his tongue” during an event.
“The pathetic apology published (…) by the Dalai Lama’s office must be rejected with condemnation. Child abuse cannot be excused,” said the radical left formation, South Africa’s third largest political force, in a statement released this Tuesday through the social network Twitter.
The images, which went viral on social networks, show the Dalai Lama kissing the minor on the lips during an act and in the presence of other adults, and then asking him if he can “suck” his tongue.
Seconds later, the Tibetan spiritual leader points to his mouth and sticks out his tongue.
Following the controversy, the Dalai Lama’s office expressed in a statement on Monday its “apologies to the boy and his family, as well as to his many friends around the world, for the damage his words have caused.”
He also argued that “His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and mischievous way, even in public and on camera.”
However, for EFF “it is revealing that the apology was issued almost a month after the deplorable incident and only after increased pressure by activists against child abuse.
According to the party, “religious leaders are supposed to be protectors, not abusers of the most vulnerable in society,” so “the law should not condone any religious leader who commits abusive acts.”
Lhamo Dondhup, the original name of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, fled with thousands of compatriots to India in early 1959 after China’s harsh repression of the failed popular uprising in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
Since then, he has continued the fight for the freedom of his people, although always “systematically opposing violence”, which is why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
The Tibetan religious leader was born on July 6, 1935 in Taktser, in eastern Tibet, where at the age of two he became the spiritual head of his people upon being recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor.