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Sikkim asks New Delhi to let Karmapa visit Rumtek or set a date

The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

(TibetanReview.net, Nov27, 2015) – Chief Minister Pawan Chamling of Sikkim has asked India’s Home Minister Mr Rajnath Singh to allow the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit his Rumtek Monastery located in the state, saying his large numbers of followers wanted to see him take his seat there, reported dnaindia.com Nov 2. Rumtek is the principal seat in exile of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism headed by the Karmapa.

The report said the request was made the week before, although the Home Minister’s response, if any, remains unknown.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje was born in Tibet and recognized as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa who had built Rumtek after escaping from Chinese ruled Tibet and passed away in the USA. The circumstance of his recognition remains a bit murky. However, Tai Situ Rinpoche, one of the four regents of the previous Karmapa, fully supported him. His recognition was endorsed by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and he was duly enthroned in his principal seat of Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling of Sikkim. (Photo courtesy: indiatvnews.com)
Chief Minister Pawan Chamling of Sikkim. (Photo courtesy: indiatvnews.com)

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje fled Chinese ruled Tibet in Dec 1999, citing lack of religious freedom. He arrived in Dharamsala in Jan 2000 where he has remained ever since. India has restricted his movements and disallows him from visiting Rumtek despite repeated pleas from his large numbers of followers in Sikkim.

India is said to be suspicious about the circumstance of his escape from Chinese ruled Tibet and also concerned about disturbance to social order in view of the existence of another 17th Karmapa-claimant, namely New Delhi-based Thaye Dorje, also said to have been born in Tibet, supported by the late Shamar Rinpoche, another regent of the previous Karmapa.

Chief Minister Chamling, leader of the Sikkim Democratic Front party, was reported to have asked New Delhi to specify a time frame by which Ogyen Trinley Dorje will be allowed to visit Rumtek even if it disallows a visit now. Sikkim’s MP to the Indian parliament, Mr PD Rai, has also demanded a decision on the date issue, saying the cooling off period of so many years should be enough for India’s intelligence agencies, seen as the main objectors, to decide the issue.

A separate request has also been made to the Narendra Modi government, the report added.

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