By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 31: The Tibetan religious figure Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has said that he had acquired Commonwealth of Dominica’s passport for ease in his movement in the future to carry out his religious duties. The prominent Tibetan religious figure posted a video message through his official Instagram account on October 28.
The Karmapa said that he encountered difficulty at airports when travelling with an Identity Certificate (IC) that was issued for him and Tibetan refugees by the Indian government in lieu of travel document, adding that some immigration officials do not even recognize the document.
The Tibetan religious figure said he acquired the passport of Commonwealth of Dominica in March and has notified the concerned Indian government authorities in May 2018.
He said, “As a religious leader who has to travel frequently to carry out my responsibilities, I was advised and felt it necessary to obtain a passport. I have applied for an Indian visa using that passport so that I may travel to India as soon as possible.”
The Karmapa who many say is of growing importance to the Indian government with regards to succeeding the aging Dalai Lama and mandate of Buddhists worldwide had been under the protection of New Delhi for 18 years since his arrival there in the year 2000. He has been living in the United States for more than one and a half years where he underwent treatment for undisclosed ailments and rest from his busy schedule.
The young lama earlier signaled that his stay in India had been difficult with Indian authorities monitoring and restricting his movement and travel for close to two decades. In August 2018, he told Radio Free Asia
that he may return in November to attend a meeting of Tibetan religious leaders in Dharamshala, India.
In September, a top official from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said that the government was willing to further ease his travel restrictions and dispel Indian intelligence notions that he may be a foreign agent, in an apparent bid to lure the Karmapa back to India.
Observers say that the Karmapa will eventually succeed the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the “natural” Buddhist leader and that India is trying to gain grounds in securing extended benefits of his influence and clout in the Buddhist community worldwide. However, the Karmapa who now possesses a foreign passport may only be willing to visit India on a visa permit and unrestricted movement worldwide.