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<-Back to WTN Archives Government considering request to let Karmapa visit Sikkim
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

2. Government considering request to let Karmapa visit Sikkim

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

NEW DELHI - The Indian government has assured powerful Buddhist groups from
Sikkim that it is considering their demand to allow a senior Tibetan
religious leader to visit his temporal seat of power in the northeastern

Leaders of the joint action committee of All Sikkim Buddhist Organisations
have assured National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra that allowing Ugyen
Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, to visit the Rumtek monastery in Gangtok
would not lead to any law and order problems, as some Buddhist groups have

The delegation from Sikkim, led by Kunzang Sherab, met Mishra here on

Mishra urged the Buddhist leaders to be patient while the central government
considered their demand, said Sonam Topden, general secretary of the joint
action committee.

But Topden noted the central government's decision to restrict the movements
of the Karmapa -- who surreptitiously crossed over to India from Tibet in
January 2000 -- had hurt the sentiments of Sikkim's large Buddhist

"The Karmapa's followers in Sikkim are Indian citizens. The demand to let
him visit Sikkim is a demand from Indian nationals who want to preserve and
protect our religion," Topden told a news conference here Monday.

The central government has reportedly been reluctant to allow the Karmapa to
visit Sikkim, which borders Tibet, due to Beijing's sensitivities as well as
claims by a rival Buddhist group that Dorje is not the true 17th Karmapa.

The rival group has claimed that Trinley Thaye Dorje, a youth based in
Kalimpong in West Bengal, is the true Karmapa.

This claims has its origin in the complex Tibetan formula of selecting a
religious leader's successor through the system of reincarnation. The
Karmapa is the head of the powerful Karma Kagyu sect, which has some 200,000
followers in Sikkim, the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal
Pradesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

The Dalai Lama, the highest Tibetan Buddhist leader, has, however, endorsed
Ugyen Trinley Dorje's claim to the position of Karmapa.
Dorje, 18, has been living at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh since India
granted him refugee status in February 2001. His movements are restricted
and he has to seek the government's permission to visit his followers in
other Indian states.

"There is no confusion about Dorje being the genuine Karmapa," said Topden.
"He should resume his rightful seat at Rumtek and it is high time this issue
was resolved."

Buddhist leaders also believe the recent progress made in Sino-Indian ties,
as well as Beijing's implicit recognition of Sikkim as a part of India in a
trade treaty, could pave the way for a visit to Rumtek by the Karmapa.

"The de facto recognition given to Sikkim (by China) could make this
possible," Topden contended.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Commentary: 'Middle Way' Does not Hold Water (PD)
  2. Government considering request to let Karmapa visit Sikkim
  3. Sikkim hopes for bus to Tibet
  4. Tibetan bowl meditations strike chord at Secret Woods

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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