Gangtok, April 17: The Tibetan community in Gangtok has come to the defense of the Dalai Lama after a video clip of him kissing a young child sparked controversy on social media.

The community has stressed that the Dalai Lama had no intention of causing harm to the child, and his actions were merely an expression of affection.

According to the community’s statement, after exchanging a kiss with the child, His Holiness emphasized their shared humanity, stating, “We are all brothers and sisters.” The interaction ended with a playful moment as His Holiness tickled the child and encouraged him to focus on the importance of peace and happiness, cautioning against those who cause harm to others.

The community urged people not to make hasty and severe judgments based solely on a superficial reading of a selectively edited video clip, presented without its cultural and interactional context.

By acknowledging that His Holiness’s gesture was specific to his culture and context and not of a sexual nature, the community hopes to promote a greater appreciation for the diversity and richness of cultural norms, practices, and gestures around the world.

The Tibetan community of Gangtok also implored people to exercise caution before casting doubt on the actions of a “simple Buddhist monk” who has devoted his entire life to serving humanity.

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They also called on people to remain vigilant and not fall prey to the Chinese state-controlled media, their affiliates, and their online supporters who are actively working to sensationalize stories through paid agents, bots, and clickbait with the goal of spreading disinformation and discrediting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his lifelong service to all sentient beings.

The Dalai Lama is a global icon of peace, who has spent his life advocating for the rights of oppressed people and serving all sentient beings. In 2012, he was honored with the prestigious Templeton Prize by the John Templeton Foundation.

His Holiness generously donated a significant portion of the prize money ($1.5 million) to support the Save the Children Fund in India, helping to improve access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for children, as well as providing crucial aid in times of natural disasters, war, and other crises.

The community implores every responsible global citizen to remember that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of peace and compassion is more vital now than ever. They believe it is imperative to continue to support him in his tireless efforts to create a better world for all.