The centre has allowed 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit Sikkim. He will, however, not be able to visit Rumtek monastery, sources said. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by PM Narendra Modi granted approval for the visit ahead of “Thank You India”, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)-organised event that begins here Saturday .
Followers of the 17th Karmapa had been on a hunger strike for the past two years and had written to the government seeking permission for his visit to Sikkim. The Centre had initially imposed restrictions on the Karmapa’s visit outside Dharamshala, but later relaxed them to permit his visit to Bihar. Allowing him to visit Sikkim was seen as another positive move by the Centre. However, the main purpose of the Karmapa’s visit to Sikkim was a visit to Rumtek. He may visit Sikkim in April or May, sources said.
The Karmapa office declined to comment on the Rumtek issue. “Unless we get the notification, it’s not fair to respond. We have seen media reports quoting CCS about the permission. It’s a good gesture anyway, if so,” said an official.
Meanwhile, with hours left for “Thank You India” to begin, the mood at Tsuglagkhang temple, the Dalai Lama’s residence, was sombre yet expectant. The year-long event was planned by CTA, the Tibetan government-in-exile headquartered here, to mark 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India.
As reported by The Indian Express, the Centre earlier issued an advisory, asking government functionaries to avoid attending events organised by Tibetans living here in exile, citing “sensitive” phase of India-China ties. “I won’t tell you how many representatives from Indian government will attend. Wait for the arrivals. It will be clear,” said a CTA functionary.
BJP sources said Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav and BJP’s Kangra MP Shanta Kumar would attend the event.