By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, July 11: Boosting the recent initiative taken by the Sikkim government to facilitate the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee’s visit to Rumtek Monastery, thousands of people yesterday took to the streets of Gangtok urging the central government to allow the young head of Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The rally known as ‘Peace and Aspiration Rally’ reportedly saw around 5,000 people including Tibetans, monks and devotees carrying large portraits of Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, Karmapa’s Dream Flags and Buddhist flags while reciting ‘Karmapa Khyenno’ mantra.
The prominent slogan on the banners were: “It’s time that our dharma guru visit Sikkim now”, “Please allow Karmapa to visit and bless Sikkim” and “Government of India, you have sovereign power to allow Karmapa to visit Sikkim”.
The rally, also participated by former Sikkim CM Narbahadur Bhandari, urged the central government to allow Karmapa to visit his rightful seat at Rumtek, indicating that they would be ‘compelled to undertake revolutionary approaches to democratic traditions’ should the government of India fail to fulfill their demand.
“We the people of Sikkim, in conformity and continuity to our common aspiration and prayers, therefore unanimously resolve that the Government of India must immediately grant permission and necessary clearance to Gyalwang Karmapa to visit and bless Sikkim,” the organizers said in a statement.
It has been over 17 years since he fled into exile and has never set foot in the monastery, which became the seat of Karmapa lineage in India since the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje’s escape in 1959.
The organizers have also initiated a relay hunger strike, which they say would continue until central government agrees to their demand of allowing Gyalwang Karmapa to visit Sikkim.
According to a source, the Shamar Rinpoche-appointed 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorjee, one of the claimants to the throne, have raised objection over the Sikkim government’s move.
The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. However, the Indian government has still not lifted the restriction it imposed on the young Lama to visit Rumtek.
A circular issued on July 6, by the Sikkim Government under the order of the state Governor, which appointed Acharya Tshering Lama of Simick Chandey as the Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department sparked a hope for his long awaited visit to Rumtek.