China retracts Nepal’s permit for Tibetan Lama’s cremation

The 14th Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro.
The 14th Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro.

(, Jul14, 2014) –The government of Nepal has denied permission to a Buddhist monastery in Nepal to bring the deceased body of its spiritual head who had passed away overseas for the purpose of performing the last rites because he happens to be Tibetan and China has objected, reported Jul 13. The 14th Shamarpa, Mipham Chokyi Lodro, who held a Bhutanese passport, had died after a sudden heart attack in his German religious centre on Jun 11. The 62-year-old prominent figure in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism had differed with the Dalai Lama on the recognition of the 17th Karmapa but was not involved in any political activity.

Nepali Embassy in New Delhi had earlier issued ‘no objection letter’ to let the body into Nepal. However, following pressure from China, the country withdrew the permission. Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Mr Tshering Togbay, has written to the government of Nepal to allow the body to be brought in, but the latter is unlikely to change its decision, reported Jul 13.

The body was lying at the Shri Diwakar Institute in Kalimpong in West Bengal after being brought to India on Jun 22 and was to be taken to the Shar Minub monastery in Kathmandu, the guru’s main seat in exile. Another report said the body was being kept at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi and was to be flown to Nepal on Jul 14.

Nepal’s acting ambassador to India, Krishna Prasad Dhakal, has told the Kathmandu Post that permission was withdrawn as last rites of a foreigner who died outside the country can’t be performed in Nepal. “We don’t have any law that allows dead bodies of foreigners to be brought into Nepal for their last rites,” Nepal’s home secretary Surya Silwal told Setopati was quoted as saying. He has failed to explain, however, why the permission was initially given.


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