India gives nod to Karmapa’s Sikkim visit

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, March 30: The Indian government is said to have lifted the travel restriction it has imposed on the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje from visiting Sikkim.

File image of the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje

According to media reports, apart from Rumtek monastery, the Centre has now allowed the 17th Karmapa to visit any part of Sikkim.

“The Cabinet Committee on Security has given the approval, it is a great news for Sikkim. However, I have learnt that the Centre has restricted his visit to Rumtek monastery. Apart from Rumtek he can visit in any part of Sikkim,” MLA Sonam Lama from Sangha constituency in Sikkim was quoted as saying in The Sikkim Chronicle.

MLA Sonam Lama has further stated that the Karmapa would be in the state either in the last week of April or the first week of May in 2018.

The development came after the Indian Home Ministry proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in May last year to allow the Karmapa to travel to any part of the country, except Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, without seeking prior permission from New Delhi.

The devotees and the followers of the Karmapa from Sikkim have long demanded that the head of Kagyue tradition of Tibetan Buddhism be allowed to visit Sikkim.

A central government order passed by the (CCS) in the year 2000 had banned the Karmapa so far from traveling to Rumtek monastery in Sikkim and other areas of strategic importance like Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh without permission but the CCS headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi allowed the Karmapa to visit Arunachal Pradesh in December 2016, much to the dismay of China as they call the region south Tibet and lays claim over it.

Karmapa, the head of Tibetan Buddhism’s Kagyue tradition was born in eastern Tibet. The 14-year-old Karmapa fled Tibet and escaped to India in 2000.

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