News and Views on Tibet

Indian Govt. to lift Karmapa’s travel restrictions

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By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, MAY 24: In a positive development for the Tibetan religious figure 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, the Indian government is reportedly set to lift the travel restrictions currently in place.

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. The CCS chaired by PM Modi is a core committee on National Security with the MoD and the MEA among other significant panels, which offer directives on the Karmapa’s security and movement among other things.

The move in question has received a shot in the arm earlier this week when a delegation of monks from various monasteries in Sikkim met with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging permission for the Seventeenth Karmapa to visit Sikkim.

The delegation led by the Sangha MLA Sonam Kelyon Lama, who is the elected political representative of the monks in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, submitted a resolution surmising the peace rally that took place on May 18 there. The collective urged the Government of India to grant early permission for the Karmapa to visit their state.

Many say that the Karmapa’s visit to the volatile Tawang region in December last year signaled a change in the air. The young Tibetan lama concluded his historic maiden visit to Arunachal Pradesh with rousing receptions from the people as well as the state government. He was accompanied by CM Pema Khandu, Union Minister Kirren Rijiju and MHA advisor Amitabh Mathur, despite censure from China.

The Karmapa is one of the most prominent figures in Tibetan Buddhism. He is the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage and was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the 17th Karmapa. He escaped into exile in 2000 and currently resides at the Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala.

Rumtek Monastery, also called Dharmachakra Centre in Sikkim, is considered as main seat of Karma Kagyu lineage and is also the focal point of tension between two organizations, Tsurphu Labrang supporting Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Karmapa Charitable Trust (supporting Thaye Dorje,who has recently married his childhood friend).

The Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee is currently on a tour in UK.

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