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Posted at: Mar 31, 2018, 1:03 AM; last updated: Mar 31, 2018, 1:03 AM (IST)

Karmapa to visit Sikkim, but not Rumtek Monastery

Move seen as goodwill gesture before ‘Thank You India’ event
Karmapa to visit Sikkim, but not Rumtek Monastery
Karmapa monastery at Sidhbari near Dharamsala.

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, March 30

In what seems to be a goodwill gesture before the ‘Thank You India’ event being organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamsala on Saturday, the Central Government has allowed the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, to visit Sikkim.

Sources here said the Cabinet Committee on Internal Security, Government of India, decided to allow Karmapa to visit Sikkim, but with a rider that he will not visit Rumtek Monastery. The monastery is the headquarters of the Black Hat Lama sect headed by the Karmapa.

The Karmapa has followers in North-East India, especially in Sikkim. According to reports, some people were on a protest in Sikkim demanding that the Karmapa should be allowed to visit there. Since the BJP is in power in many states in North-East, it is being expected that party legislators and MPs from there exerted pressure on the Union Government to allow the Karmapa to visit Dharamsala. Since his flight into exile from China and mysterious arrival in Dharamsala in 2000, there were restrictions on Karmapa’s movement.

He was not even allowed to move out of Dharamsala despite recognition by the Dalai Lama. However, in the recent past, the government allowed Karmapa to visit Leh and Bodhgaya.

Kinsang, a spokesperson for the Karmapa, said they had not received the government order yet, and therefore he could not comment on the issue.

Controversy surrounds recognition as 17th Karmapa

Ogyen Trinley Dorjee (inset) was born on June 26, 1985, in a nomad community of Bakor in Eastern Tibet. He was recognised as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa by the Dalai Lama in June 1992. However, one of the prominent teachers of Kagyu, Shamar Rinpoche, refused to recognise Dorjee as the 17th Karmapa. He instead claimed that Thaye Trinley Dorjee was the real 17th Karmapa. Later, another candidate, Dava Sangpo Dorjee, also claimed for the office and title. He is currently living in Nepal. The situation has led to differences among Kagyu followers across the world. However, despite repeated pleas of Shamar Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration recognised Dorjee as the 17th Karmapa.

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