Johannesburg: The Dalai Lama is set to receive the ‘Mahatma Gandhi peace prize’ from the Indian leader’s granddaughter, Ela Gandhi. The South African government has been requested to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama to visit South Africa.
The news was announced on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation will be conferred on the 76-year-old Dalai Lama at the annual Satyagraha Awards to be held at the Durban City Hall next Sunday.
The event is one of the many public invitations that the Dalai Lama has acknowledged during a planned South African visit this week. However, there are concerns that the South African government may not grant him a visa under Chinese pressure.
South African authorities said the visa was still “under consideration” on Friday, less than a week before the start of his visit. The Dalai Lama was previously refused a visa in 2009.
Expressing the hope that the visa would be issued in time, Ela Gandhi said the award would be given to a delegate of the Dalai Lama in case of his non-attendance. She said, “Since he is a spiritual head and not a political one, there should be no problem issuing the Dalai Lama with a visa”.