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Karmapa’s November visit to Dharamshala seen as uncertain

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

(TibetanReview.net, Oct28, 2018) – Conflicting reports cast doubts on whether the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje will be able to travel to Dharamsala, India, next month to take part in a meeting of Tibet’s top religious figures. Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is seen as being likely to discuss the crucial issue of his reincarnation or successor at this meeting.

Recent media reports have suggested that India, which had previously severely curtailed his movement, wanted him to return and live in the country with freedom to travel around, except to Rumtek, his seat in exile in the state of Sikkim, which is at the centre of a judicial tussle.

Contrary to previous media reports saying New Delhi was keen that he returned, the religious head of the Kagyu sect is struggling to get an Indian visa as there is a view in the government that Karmapa, instead, may go to China, said a Hard News report posted on the scroll.in website Oct 27.

The report notes that having acquired a Dominican passport recently, the Karmapa can now only come to India on a visa.

The issue is said to have been complicated by the fact that he has not been able to surrender his Indian Identity Certificate – the internationally unusual and complicated travel document New Delhi issues to Tibetan residents in the country – to the consulate in New York. The consulate was stated to have refused to entertain the surrender, saying it was awaiting instructions from New Delhi.

Reportedly bewildered by New Delhi’s response, the Karmapa went to Germany for a medical examination, for he was stated to have shown some indications of diabetes. During this trip, he also travelled to rural France and met with Thaye Dorje, a rival claimant to the Karmapa throne.

The report speaks of there being an intense turf battle in India’s home ministry on policy towards the Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje. A section of them was stated to have never taken a liking to the young Karmapa ever since he negotiated the difficult Himalayan ranges over Dec 1999 – Jan 2000 to reach India. They saw him as a Chinese plant and their version of why he escaped from Tsurphu Monastery, located 30 km outside Tibet’s capital of Lhasa, prevailed, the report said.

Sikkim, however, has been clamouring for his visit to the state and his enthronement at the Rumtek Monastery and recently won significant Karmapa concessions from New Delhi.

China has never officially condemned the Karmapa despite his criticisms of its policies in Tibet in a calculated move to help vindicate his critics and thereby make his situation all the more difficult with the Indian government.

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