Allow Karmapa To Visit Sikkim: Monks Enter 33rd Day Of Hunger Strike

The Buddhist monks in Sikkim have started a relay hunger strike or a dharna in demand from the state and the union government of India to allow the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee to visit the state and his righful abode Rumtek monastery. The dharna has entered its 33rd day today and the monks has not received any positive response from both the levels of government.

The 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee has reached to exile in India 17 years ago and he never been able to set foot to the seat of his lineage in India, Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim since the 16th Karmapa who escaped to India in 1959.

“Monks of Ralang, Phodong and Rumtek monasteries have announced that they will intensify their agitation if Karmapa is not allowed to visit the state by 6th August.” reported in a news earlier.

RB Subba, vice president of the SDF party and former minister, for visiting and supporting the monks of Sikkim who are on  a relay hunger strike at BL House, Tibet Road in Gangtok. However, the monks said that no government representatives have been visiting the protester to discuss the issue.

The campaign started with a rally known as ‘Peace and Aspiration Rally’ on the streets of Gangtok that reportedly saw around 5000 people including Tibetans, monks and devotees carrying large portraits of Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, Karmapa’s Dream Flags and Buddhist flags while reciting ‘Karmapa Khyenno’ mantra last month.

Though it is reported that the dharna is being held in support of a resolution adopted in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly by both the ruling party and the opposition for allowing the Karmapa into Sikkim, the monks now allege that the recently appointed chairman Acharya Tshering Lama of Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, who was given the responsibility of welcoming Karmapa to Sikkim is doing anti social activities in Karmapa’s monastery visit programme at the village level.

“According to a source, the Shamar Rinpoche-appointed 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorjee, one of the claimants to the throne, have raised objection over the Sikkim government’s move. ” said a report in phayul.

The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA recognize Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. However, the Indian government has still not lifted the restriction it imposed on the young Lama to visit Rumtek.

Yeshi Paljor

Editor at Tibetan Journal, Yeshi Paljor is a computer engineer by profession.

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