India ready to let Karmapa return to country; he hasn’t applied for visa: Sources
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India ready to let Karmapa return to country; he hasn’t applied for visa: Sources

Dorje, who fled from Tibet to India in January 2000, left the country in May 2017 and travelled to Europe and then the US using his Identity Certificate, a document given by the Indian government to stateless citizens from the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2018 23:24 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
HJindustan Times, New Delhi
Karmapa,Indian visa,Dalai Lama
ITibetan spiritual leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, offers prayers at the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. (AFP File Photo)(AFP)

The Indian government doesn’t recognise Ugyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa Lama though he is free to return to the country at any time as authorities are ready to grant him a visa, people familiar with developments said on Thursday.

Dorje, who fled from Tibet to India in January 2000, left the country in May 2017 and travelled to Europe and then the US using his Identity Certificate, a document given by the Indian government to stateless citizens from the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.

Since then, Dorje has set several dates for his return to India but has not made any effort to come back. Sources close to Dorje have claimed he was upset with what they said were “restrictions” imposed on his movements by Indian authorities.

The people cited above said the Indian government doesn’t recognise Dorje as the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu sub-school of Tibetan Buddhism, as there were “other contenders” for the position.

Dorje, who had come to India and was living here of his own volition, had obtained a passport from the Commonwealth of Dominica, a former British crown colony in the West Indies, but had not shared this information with the Indian government, the people cited above said.

He didn’t need to share this information but “ought to have done so in good faith” as he was a guest of India, a person said. It had been conveyed to Dorje several months ago that India is prepared to give him a visa on his foreign passport but “motivated sources” were putting out a story that he wasn’t being given a visa, the person added.

Dorje’s Identity Certificate had automatically become invalid when he acquired a foreign passport and it is the sovereign right of the Indian government to decide the on duration and status of a visa for any foreigner, the people said.

He had indicated to the media several times that he wished to come to India but he hadn’t approached any Indian mission for a visa, the people said. Explicit instructions had issued to the missions to grant the visa, they added.

Dorje’s failure to return has sparked speculation and concern among Tibetan Buddhists, especially as he has been recognised by the Dalai Lama.

First Published: Dec 27, 2018 23:24 IST