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India now sees the Karmapa as future face of Tibetan struggle as it woos him back from US

Tibetan spiritual leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, looks on as he sits in front of a portrait of the Dalai Lama during a function commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Institute of Medicine and Astrology in Dharmsala, India, June 2, 2011. (Photo courtesy: AP)
Tibetan spiritual leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, looks on as he sits in front of a portrait of the Dalai Lama during a function commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Institute of Medicine and Astrology in Dharmsala, India, June 2, 2011. (Photo courtesy: AP)

(TibetanReview.net, Sep11, 2018) – The government of India had put the Karmapa under watch at the time of his arrival at Dharmashala on Jan 5, 2000 after escaping from Chinese ruled Tibet because of some “suspicion” but that phase is “over”, reported indianexpress.com Sep 10, citing a top former Indian intelligence officer and who is currently the adviser on Tibetan affairs in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The report quoted the adviser, Mr Amitabh Mathur, as saying, “India doesn’t doubt 17th Karmapa’s commitment to Tibetan civilisation struggle and he is the future face of Tibetan Buddhism.”

The report noted that New Delhi had for long suspected the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, to be a “Chinese agent” as it had doubts about the genuineness of his escape from Chinese ruled Tibet. An order passed by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 2000 put restrictions on the Karmapa’s travel to certain areas without prior permission of the government. These included the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the exile headquarter of the Karmapa, and areas of strategic importance such as Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.

But now, New Delhi is trying to portray him as the most credible face of Tibetan struggle in India, after the Dalai Lama, the report said.

The restrictions on the Karmapa were lifted in phases over a period of time. In 2015, the Narendra Modi government, in an attempt to engage with the Karmapa, decided to review the order on the travel restrictions. The travel restrictions, except to Rumtek Monastery, were then eased, the report said.

Then in 2016, the home ministry directed the Delhi Development Authority to allot 5 acres of land to the Karmapa to set up his trust in Dwarka. The report cited ministry officials as saying the Karmapa was yet to accept this offer. The Karmapa has recently referred to this issue and said the asking price for the land was very steep while indicating that he was still considering it positively.

The Karmapa is seen as being most likely to return to India in November for a meeting of the heads of the different religious schools of Tibet.

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