After a video showing the Dalai Lama’s inappropriate interaction with a boy went viral, the EFF has called on Indian authorities to arrest and prosecute the internationally recognised Tibetan spiritual leader, Tenzin Gyatso, for child abuse.
In the viral video, a small youngster approaches the 87-year-old Nobel Peace Prize recipient and asks, “Can I hug you?”
The spiritual leader then invites the boy to the stage, pointing to his cheek and saying, “first here,” encouraging the boy to hug and kiss him.
As the conversation progresses, the Dalai Lama gestures to his lips and adds, “then I think finally here as well.” He then yanks on the boy’s chin and kisses him on the lips.
“And suck my tongue,” he says after a few seconds, poking his tongue out.
The incident occurred in February, according to accounts, in India, where the Dalai Lama is in “permanent exile.”
The Dalai Lama’s office apologised to the youngster and his family, as well as his numerous friends across the world, on Monday, amid an international outcry over the event. The EFF, led by Julius Malema in South Africa, said the “lame apology” must be rejected.
“The lame apology issued today from the Dalai Lama Office must be rejected with condemnation. Child abuse cannot be apologised away.
“It is also telling that the apology was issued almost a month after the deplorable incident and only after mounting pressure from activists against child abuse,” said EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo.
“This supposed apology failed to state that his acts were grossly abusive. Religious leaders are expected to be protectors, not abusers of the most vulnerable in society. Child abuse is rampant worldwide.
“Children are not safe in their homes, schools, public spaces and with religious leaders. The law must not be spared on any religious leader who indulges in abusive acts,” Tambo said.
The EFF has urged Indian authorities to take action against the Dalai Lama.
“The Indian authorities must send a stern warning to all those who dare to harm children that they will be prosecuted harshly regardless of their status,” Tambo said.
According to CNN, the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the world’s most well-known living Buddhist figure. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism’s “Yellow Hat” tradition, is regarded by millions as the reincarnation of his 13 predecessors.
The Tibetan spiritual leader has been based in India since 1959, following an unsuccessful Tibetan rebellion against Chinese control, according to CNN.
Later, the Dalai Lama formed a “government in exile” in the Indian city of Dharamshala, where he commands thousands of Tibetans who had followed him there.