NEW DELHI -- Members of the Tibetan government in exile urged those living and working around the Dalai Lama to remain on the alert Sunday after the spiritual leader voiced concern that Chinese agents might be plotting to kill him.
Ngodup Dongchung, security minister for the Tibetan exiles based in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala, said top officials met over the weekend to review security arrangements and vowed to redouble vigilance.
"We still like to remain very cautious," he said. "Of course we're working closely with the Indian government on this."
The Dalai Lama said in an interview with England's Sunday Telegraph newspaper this month that his security detail had received reports some time back from a Tibetan employed by Chinese security agencies that Tibetan women were being trained to assassinate him by applying poison to their hair and traditional greeting scarves. Tibetans on meeting the Dalai Lama frequently give him scarves and bow their heads.
Rinzin Choedon, coordinator with the Students for a Free Tibet activist group, said Sunday that she has no doubt China is capable of such an attack, but said security has been tightened after the reports and is now sufficient. "Now no one is allowed to offer him anything," she said. "This scarf incident is a cheap act by low-thinking China. They are shameless."
The exiled government said in a statement that although the Dalai Lama, 76, might not take seriously the threat -- which it added has not been verified -- his security detail does.
Chinese authorities have denied the claim, contending that they could have carried out an attack earlier if they wanted to and that this disclosure by the Dalai Lama was nothing more than an "insidious trick."
The exile government said in the statement that security officials also received reports from Tibet in 2010 that Chinese intelligence agencies were making plans to attack the Dalai Lama using "ultramodern and highly sophisticated drugs and poisonous chemicals."