(TibetanReview.net, Dec28, 2018) – India has denied reports that it is insisting on the Karmapa returning to the country on his Identity Certificate (IC), a document with limited international acceptability, issued by it to Tibetans for overseas travels, according to thehindu.com Dec 27. The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje was earlier reported to be awaiting Indian visa on his recently acquired passport of Dominica, a Caribbean island country. He had left for the USA in 2017 and acquired the new passport to be able to freely visit his many religious centres and followers around the world.
“There is no issue over the IC, as the IC is invalid the moment the holder acquires a foreign passport. He has indicated time and again to the media, but he has not yet presented his passport for a visa, and there is no visa application. There are specific motivations by certain quarters to put out a story that he is not getting a visa. There should be no doubt that he is free to come to India and get a visa on the Dominica passport,” the report quoted a source, apparently from the government, as saying.
It was not clear whether this is a case of different government officers or agencies saying different things on the same issues, for the earlier reports were quite specific and cited highly placed government sources for the Karmapa’s difficulty in being able to return to India.
The report also said India was not happy at not being informed before the Karmapa took the Dominican passport.
“He has secured the passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica. He didn’t share this information with India. He doesn’t need to, but in good faith he ought to have, since he was our guest. What was the reason for not sharing this with the government of India?” the report quoted the unnamed government source as saying, calling it the first such official reaction to Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s move.
Controversially, the report also quoted a “highly placed source” from the Indian government as saying, “The government of India does not recognise Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa Lama. There are other contenders.” The process of recognizing the reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist lama is a complex religious process in which secular authorities have no role to play, as being presently exerted by the atheist government of China to global criticisms.
The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage within the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism but probably the second most prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader in exile after the Dalai Lama.
It was earlier reported by thehindu.com Dec 10 that India’s former advisor on Tibetan Affairs, Mr Amitabh Mathur, who had been a key interlocutor, had said the matter concerning the Karmapa’s return had been put on hold as the latter was on retreat. “There are no restrictions on his travel, however,” he was quoted as saying while seemingly indicating that he should do so on his IC.