Dharamsala, HP, India – On receiving the news this morning that former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra Singh, had passed away, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to his widow, Smt Pratibha Singh, to offer his condolences.
"Dedicating himself to the service of others," His Holiness wrote, "Virbhadra Singh led a long and meaningful life. I admired the way he listened to people's needs with deep affection and compassion. I am personally grateful for the warm friendship he showed me over the many years we knew each other.
"Historically there have long been close ties between the people of the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr, to which 'Raja Sahib' belonged, and their neighbours in western Tibet.
"Here in Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra Singh, our longest serving Chief Minister, will be sorely missed."
His Holiness concluded his letter, "With my prayers."
Meanwhile Prime Minister of Tibetan Government in Exile Penpa Tsering also expressed his deep sadness and condolence over the demise of Shri Virbhadra Singh.
In an official condolence letter sent to Shmt Pratibha Singh, wife of late Shri Virbhadra Singh, Pempa wrote:
"It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of the late Shri Raja Virbhadra Singh. On behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan people, I sent our deepest condolences to you, your family, and the people of Himachal Pradesh."
"Through his dynamic leadership and decades of service to the nation and the state of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra Singh ji has left an indelible mark in the hearts and lives of many. Likewise, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people remain grateful of his support and generosity throughout the past decades."
"Today, the Tibetan people mourn this colossal loss alongside your family and the people of Himachal Pradesh while honoring the legacy of Shri Virbhadra Singh ji."
"Once again my deepest condolences," he added.
A prayer service was held by the respective departments of the Central Tibetan Administration from noon today, and the offices are shut from mid-day as a mark of respect and mourning for the deceased.