Deputy PM said to hold up Nepali permit for Shamarpa last rites

Bamdev Gautam, Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal
Bamdev Gautam, Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal

(, Jul27, 2014) –If direct Chinese pressure was not behind Nepal’s reversal of decision on permitting the body of the late 14th Shamarpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist leader, being brought into the country for his final rites, fear of offending Beijing certainly was, according to a report Jul 25. The report said that while the majority of Nepal’s cabinet, including Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, was positive towards acceding to the Rinpoche’s followers in the country, no decision could be taken during its meeting because Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam strongly opposed it.

Gautam was reported to base his strong objection on the security agencies’ opinion that tens of thousands of the Shamarpa’s followers would turn up at the funeral and some Free Tibet activists could take advantage of the situation to stage anti-China protests. Shamarpa never had any involvement in Tibetan campaign against Chinese rule or any connection with Tibetan political activists or groups.

Gautam was also reported to base his vehement opposition to his government’s earlier response to the Bhutanese government over the issue. This referred to the fact that Kathmandu had earlier sent a written reply to Bhutanese Prime Minister Mr Tshering Tobgay, saying that permission for the cremation of a foreign national could not be given as doing so would set a precedent.

Shamarpa carried a passport of Bhutan and the latter’s prime minister had requested Kathmandu to give the permission “as the Rinpoche had wished to be cremated near Swayambhu in Kathmandu,” the report added.

Shamarpa had died of a heart attack in Germany on June 11, aged 62. The original schedule was to take his body to Nepal from New Delhi. But following Nepal’s withdrawal of a previously granted permission, it was taken to Kalimpong in the Indian state of West Bengal. The final rites will be held there unless Nepal gives permission soon.

Lama Dawa Sangbo Yolmopa, a member of the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities, which was lobbying to bring the body to Kathmandu for last rites, was reported to be optimistic. “We are aware that the government is positive to our request though we are yet to learn about its decision regarding the permission for holding the final rites here.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here