Cloud over key Tibetan meet as Delhi stalls Karmapa’s return

Govt. is unhappy with Dorje’s decision to acquire Dominican citizenship
The indefinite postponement of the 13th Religious Conference of the Schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon Tradition, which was scheduled for November 29 and 30 in Dharamsala, has once again turned the spotlight on differences between the government and the Karmapa, the head of one of the four main sects of Tibetan Buddhism, over his return to India, officials confirmed to The Hindu . According to officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, the two sides have reached an impasse over the 34-year-old Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s decision to acquire citizenship of Dominica earlier this year. As a result, despite several requests from the Karmapa for a visa, he has been unable to visit India as planned.
Requests denied
The officials, who asked not to be named, confirmed that the Karmapa had written multiple letters to the Indian consulate in New York and to the Dalai Lama asking for a visa. The Karmapa said he wants to surrender the Identity Certificate (the yellow card issued by India to Tibetans for ease of travel) since he has already acquired Dominica’s citizenship. A senior government official told The Hindu that the Karmapa was welcome to visit India but the government would not agree to his demand to surrender the Identity Certificate. “He can come here on the Identity Certificate issued to him, there is no bar on him visiting here,” said the official. Another source denied any delay by the government in processing the papers, but said that in its opinion, “the Karmapa doesn’t need a visa.” With its tough stand, the government is understood to have made clear its annoyance with the Karmapa’s decision to overstay in the U.S. and acquire another country’s passport, rather than return to India.

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