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Karmapa to be allowed free movement across India, bar Sikkim

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

(TibetanReview.net, May25, 2017) – More than 17 years after he fled his Chinese ruled homeland, citing lack of freedom to pursue religious study, and arrived at Dharamshala, the government of India is finally set to greatly ease travel restriction on the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, according to Indian newspaper reports May 23-24.

The Home Ministry has proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Karmapa be allowed to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi, reported indianexpress.com May 24 and others.

The head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism was born in Tibet and escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14, reaching Dharamshala in Jan 2000.

Although recognized by the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, Indian government agencies had for long suspected that the Karmapa was a “Chinese spy”, the reports said.

The decision to review the restrictions on his travel was reported to have been taken in an attempt to “engage” him.

“All this while, the Karmapa had to wait for the Home Ministry’s clearance to travel in India. After the Cabinet Committee on Security clears the proposal, all he will have to do is to inform the Home Ministry about his travels. Except Sikkim, he can travel anywhere,” thehindu.com May 23 quoted a Home Ministry official as saying.

The reports said that in 2000 itself, a central government order passed by the CCS banned the Karmapa from traveling to Rumtek Monastery in East Sikkim, the exile seat of the Karmapas, and other areas of strategic importance like Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh without permission.

However, India in recent years not only permitted the Karmapa to travel to foreign countries but also, in November last year, allowed him to travel to Arunachal Pradesh, a sensitive border state claimed by China as an extension of its sovereign claim over Tibet.

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