Karmapa set for early return, visit to Sikkim?

17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. (Photo courtesy: Karmapa Foundation)

(TibetanReview.net, Aug15’21) – The government of India is positively considering an outreach to the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, and he will be allowed to visit Sikkim soon, reported thehindu.com Aug 24, citing the state’s Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang.

“We have got a positive reply to our demand that 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje be allowed to visit Sikkim at the earliest. We believe it will happen very soon,” Mr Tamang was quoted as saying.

The head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism left India in 2017 but did not return. He later acquired a Dominica passport in order to be able to travel more freely than on the restrictive Indian government issued Identity Certificate for Tibetan residents in the country. However, India would not issue him a visa on his new passport but only a return visa on the Identity Certificate issued by it.

The Karmapa has a strong following in Sikkim where his exile seat, the Rumtek Monastery, is located. But he has not been able to even visit it due to a legal dispute from a rival claimant to the Karmapa throne as well as the government of India restrictions.

The Karmapa escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14 in a dramatic turn of events in 1999 after fleeing his Tsurphu Monastery near Lhasa, citing lack of freedom to pursue his religious study. He resided at the Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala under a set of restrictions from the government of India.

Talks between him and the government of India for his possible return continued amid media rumours that New Delhi had toughened its position.

The report cited a senior source in the BJP with knowledge of the talks as saying New Delhi’s outreach was blessed by the Dalai Lama but previous attempts to enable his return did not succeed as the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence service, did not approve the move.


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