Thursday, 5 September 2013

Despite Centre's caution, Himachal Pradesh accords state guest status to Ogyene Trinley Dorje

SHIMLA: While the Union home ministry had advised Himachal Pradesh government last year not to officially address Ogyene Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa, stating that it would be perceived adversely by his rival groups and has the potential to trigger controversies, the Himachal Pradesh government recently made the Tibetan spiritual leader a state guest during his maiden visit to Kinnaur district, bordering China, much to the annoyance of the Centre.

According to sources, central intelligence agencies have sent a report to Union government on the issue of the state government according state guest status to Dorje. Last year, as the law department of Himachal Pradesh government, in its opinion about withdrawal of case against Dorje, mentioned him as the 17th Karmapa, the Union home ministry had sent an advisory to state chief secretary, with a direction to refrain from officially mentioning Dorje as 17th Karmapa.

In a letter written to state chief secretary on April 30 last year, Union ministry of home affairs had objected to the use of Karmapa title before the name of Ogyene Trinley Dorje and had clarified that mentioning Dorje as 17th Karmapa was contrary to the neutral stand taken by the government of India on the Karmapa controversy.

"Please be informed that government of India has adopted a policy refraining from any involvement in the 17th Karmapa succession issue. Therefore, law department ( HP government) opinion suggesting Dorje as the 17th Karmapa goes against the neutral stand taken by the government of India on Karmapa issue," said the letter.

Following the letter, the Himachal Pradesh government had replaced the letter related to withdrawal of case against Ogyene Trinley Dorje and in the revised letter, he was not mentioned as Karmapa. On the request of state government, a court in Una had dropped charges against Dorje.
Over a year after the advisory to state government was issued by Union home ministry, the state government has now extended hospitality to Dorje by making him a state guest. Enjoying the hospitality of state government, Dorje ended his three-day tour to Kinnaur on Tuesday.

Kinnaur deputy commissioner Captain J M Pathania said that instructions to treat Karmapa as state guest were issued by the general administration (GAD) department of state government. When contacted, GAD secretary Subhashis Panda said that Karmapa is an important religious leader and Kinnaur residents had requested the state government to treat Karmapa as state guest.

The Tibetan leader had courted controversy after the foreign currency haul case, wherein over Rs 6.5 crore in Indian and foreign currency was recovered in a raid on Gyuto monastery. Himachal Pradesh police, in its chargsheet filed before the court of chief judicial magistrate on December 7, 2011, had made Dorje an accused in the case pertaining to unaccounted money recovered from his monastery in January 27 and 28, 2011.

The chargesheet had accused Dorje and nine others of forming illegal trust, unauthorized money transactions, unauthorized land deal and making illegal documents. Dorje was charged under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC but later, the charges against him were dropped.

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