News and Views on Tibet

Sikkim CM urges PM Modi to allow Karmapa to return to India

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The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje (AFP)
The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje (AFP)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 13: Prem Singh Tamang, Sikkim’s Chief Minister, has reportedly written to PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday urging the Indian government to allow the 17thKarmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to return to India. The Week reported that the CM told PM Modi that Sikkimese and Buddhist devotees are approaching him to let the Tibetan spiritual figure to return for religious commitments.

He told the PM that Karmapa was granted asylum by PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000. ”It is learnt that restrictions were later imposed by the then government on his movement within the country, that impeded his visit to Sikkim despite popular demands of the devotees in Sikkim,” wrote CM Tamang. 

He further said that it was the Modi government who lifted these restrictions in 2018 except over Rumtek monastery and expressed gratitude on the behalf of Sikkimese people for the removal of such restrictive measures. CM also said that the public demand for Karmapa’s visit has been increasing and urged Modi to consider giving the Tibetan spiritual leader an entry into India at the earliest. 

The Karmapa acquired the Commonwealth of Dominica’s passport in 2018 for ease of travel after facing restrictions on his movement in India by the government. The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu School, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetans and Buddhists in India have been advocating for his return to India since he acquired the Dominica passport. 

Rumtek monastery, also called Dharmachakra centre in Sikkim, considered as the main seat of Karma Kagyu lineage in exile is also the focal point of contesting narratives. The Kagyu spiritual leader has not been allowed to visit the monastery even after his arrival into exile.

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