Naren Chandra Das was one of the seven soldiers of Assam Rifles, which escorted the Dalai Lama into Indian territory.
Guwahati: Naren Chandra Das, an Assam Rifles veteran who received and escorted the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso into India from Tibet in 1959, has passed away at the age of 84 on Wednesday (December 29) at Sonitpur district.
The then 22-year-old Dalai Lama fled Tibet with the help of the American spy agency, CIA's Special Activities Division, and crossed the border on March 30, 1959. He was escorted into Indian territory by a seven-member team of the Assam Rifles soldiers. One of the last living soldiers was Naren Chandra Das.
The Dalai Lama reached Tezpur on April 18. Former Assam Rifles Havildar Naren Chandra Das, who hailed from Lokra near Tezpur in Assam, was the last survivor among the seven soldiers who had escorted the Tibetan leader.
Naren Chandra Das and the Dalai Lama had an emotional reunion in April 2018 in Guwahati in the presence of the then Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Dalai Lama's escape to India marked a crucial moment in the evolution of the Indo-Chinese relationship, which Naren Chandra Das too was a major part of. Assam Rifles paid tribute to the veteran at his native village. Late Naren Chandra Das joined the AR in 1957 and was a popular personality in his native area. He was often invited to various programs to talk about the famous escape of the Dalai Lama to India via Arunachal Pradesh-Tezpur. Das often recalled how the seven members of the young Assam Rifles soldiers escorted the then very young Dalai Lama safely to India.