Jamia seeks clearance from MEA on doctorate to the Dalai Lama

New Delhi: Jamia Milia Islamia has sought clearance from Ministry of External Affairs for awarding an honorary doctorate to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama next month.

Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung today spoke to Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao in the backdrop of a media report that the MEA was blocking the University's move to honour the Dalai Lama as it came ahead of the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India.

"The Vice Chancellor spoke to the Foreign Secretary today, and the University has written a letter to the Ministry seeking a review on their stance," Jamia Milia's media coordinator Seemi Malhotra told PTI.

The University had plans to award the doctorate to the Nobel Laureate on November 23, a month ahead of Jiabao's visit to India and apparently the Ministry was apprehensive about its timing.

"The University is communicating with the Ministry and we are hoping they would grant us the permission," Malhotra said.

The programme had been planned for November 23 and there is still enough time, the official said.

Asked if the University had decided to put off the ceremony, Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung said "no", but did not elaborate.

Asked to comment on the issue at a press briefing, Rao said the Ministry has taken note of it.

"I have seen the media report... the matter is receiving our attention," she said, but gave no further comments.

She, however, noted that the Dalai Lama was a very respectful religious and spiritual figure for millions of Indians.