April 2, 2019
The Buddhist community in Nepal has reacted strongly to a politician’s attempt to cast aspersion on their tradition of offering scarves known as khata, a tradition they share with other Himalayan communities such as Ladakhis, Bhutanese, Sikkimese, and Tibetans, among others. A Member of Parliament from Nepal’s Communist Party, Khaga Raj Adhikari, asserted at a public event that the use of the khata in Nepal “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” connecting it to Tibet issue and giving political color to a fundamentally spiritual and cultural tradition. The comments made by Adhikari, who is a former Minister, echoes China’s position in Nepal that “pro-Tibet” activities “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.”
In reaction, the Buddhist community, under the banner of the Nepal Buddhist Federation, held large demonstrations by people from different ethnic groups, including monks and laypeople, to challenge Adhikari and called for the protection of their tradition while wearing khatas.