The government is trying to get Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje return to India from his US visit after repeated insistence of the Buddhist community. The 32 year-old Karmapa had gone to US in May 2017 and was expected to return last year only, but extended his stay. This is the longest period he has stayed abroad.
Besides the strategic interest involved, his followers "want him to stay in India and that's why we are vigorously pursuing his return," a senior minister in the Narendra Modi government told NDTV.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is believed to be reluctant to return as the centre is yet to allow him to move around freely in India and abroad. The Karmapa needs to take permission every time he wants to go anywhere -- unlike the Dalai Lama, who is free to travel without any restriction.
A senior official of the home ministry said Karmapa Dorje is allowed to travel anywhere in India, except Rumtek monastery in Sikkim.
The Karmapa uses a Dominican Republic passport for his travel abroad, sources said. He managed to get his passport with the help of his refugee card.
Buddhists in Sikkim who follow the Khagyu sect recognise the 32-year-old Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the real heir and successor of the 16th Karmapa, who died in 1981.
The central government, however, had banned entry of all claimants to the Karmapa title to the Rumtek monastery in 1994. The Sikkim government has written several times and passed resolutions requesting the centre to allow Ogyen Trinley Dorje to make his claim as the 17th Karmapa.
The centre, however, is yet to give a decision on the issue. Dorje, head of the Karma Khagyu (Black Hat) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, was born in Tibet and had escaped to India through Nepal at the age of 14. He reached the Tibetan exile quarters at McLeod Ganj on January 5, 2000.
The Karmapa is also yet to get land to set up a monastery in Delhi. "The Karmapa wants to build a monastery as his current abode in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh is a small installation," a senior official said.
The home ministry had asked Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to allot him land. The decision has been cleared by the cabinet committee on security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Lieutenant Governor, who is also the chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, is scouting for land and is expected to zero in on a piece soon.
The cabinet committee has decided to allot land to the Karmapa in Delhi, possibly in Dwarka, another official said.