India says ready to offer visa, but Karmapa Ogyen yet to respond

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has a Commonwealth of Dominica passport.

Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has a Commonwealth of Dominica passport. File photo/Photographer unknown

By Rahul Tripathi | Indian Express

NEW DELHI, India, 29 December 2018

India has informed Tibetan religious leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje that it is ready to give him a visa on his newly acquired Commonwealth of Dominica passport but he is yet to respond to the offer, sources said on Thursday.

South Block officials said Dorje, who is currently in the United States, didn’t share information about acquiring a foreign passport. “We are unable to understand what could be the reason for this. We have conveyed to him that we are prepared to give him a visa on his Dominica passport. His identity certificate (as a Tibetan refugee) is invalid now. He has indicated time and again that he wants to come (to India), but he has not presented his passport or applied for a visa,” a top official said.

Asked if India was ready to grant him multiple-entry visa, the official refused to comment. However, he said “explicit instructions” had been issued to Indian consulates in the US to grant visa to Dorje.

While Dorje is recognised by the Dalai Lama as the Karmapa, head of the Kagyu sect, India does not officially recognise him as such. Dorje came to India in 2000, after a dramatic escape from Tibet. He was around 14 years old then.

In 2015, India indicated that it was willing to engage with Dorje, as the Centre reviewed the Cabinet Committee on Security’s (CCS) earlier decision and eased domestic travel restrictions on him, allowing him to visit Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, except Rumtek monastery.

The government also agreed to allot him land in Delhi to construct a monastery. The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, who is also chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), had identified the site in Dwarka.

After the travel restrictions were lifted, Dorje visited Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in 2016. In the past, Dorje has conveyed his discomfort over being watched by intelligence agencies and needing clearance from the Home Ministry for travel within India.

In May last year, Dorje left for the US on a three-month visa. Since then, he hasn’t returned. In March this year, he picked up a passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

In October this year, Dorje met Trinley Thaye Dorje, the other Karmapa claimant, at a remote location in France. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two stated, “We are both very pleased to have had this opportunity to meet and get to know each other in a peaceful and relaxed environment. We both had this wish for many years, and we are gratified that this wish has now been fulfilled.”

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