Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje in controversy

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Allegations, accusations, prejudgments all are taking place in a recent turn of events which has placed His Holiness 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje in yet another controversy.

On the afternoon of 26th January a huge amount of currency approximate Rupees 1 cr. was seized from a car during checking. Taking clue from it authorities raided the transit home of 17th Karmapa at Sidhbari near Dharamsala on Thursday 27th January.

During raids a cash worth of Rs, 8.5 cr in Indian and foreign currency was found in four large suitcase. The money was supposed to be used for buying a 5 acre land in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

The 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje is a revered leader and his position is considered to be the third most important in Tibetan Buddhism after Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. Karmapa fled Tibet in the year 2000 and sought refuge in India and is often projected as a possible successor of H.H. the Dalai Lama.

The seized money was in currencies of China, Japan, the US, the UK, Australia, and Thailand. But most of them were in Chinese Yuan which became a reason of suspicion. The Indian officials consider that Karmapa escape was staged and that he is a Spy of Chinese government who has been sent to control Tibetan monasteries in India. The office of H.H Karmapa denied these allegations from the very beginning. Since his arrival in Indian he has been under the command of Government of India and his movements are highly restricted. At present he lives in the Gyuto Tantric monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala – the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Indian investigative agencies have raised their doubts and fastened their probe in the matter. Daljeet Singh Manhas, one of the investigative officers said “one of the main points of investigation is whether such huge amount of Chinese currency can be accumulated just in form of donation or there is some other source attached to it. During the investigations we have also found that there was no Income Tax filed since 2009 by the Karmapa Office of Administration. This certainly raises some doubts”.

Police have already made some arrests including the accountant Shakti Lama. They have also detained an hotelier named K P Bharadwaj in connection with recovery of Rs. 1 crore from a car. Among others who are being questioned are a banker and a property dealer.

A team of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency and Intelligence Bureau (IB) agency for internal security was sent from Delhi to Dharamsala for the further investigation. They might call on H.H. Karmapa for questioning with regard to his alleged Chinese links.

Vijay Kranti a senior Journalist feels that controversy has been originated because of lack of managing funds and buying a land in Kangra. Many young Tibetans opine that the monks are not good in handling the money. They do not have any that kind of education which would help them to maintain proper accounts and thus the money which they receive as donations keeps on augmenting without proper records.

Even His Holiness the Dalai Lama came in support of Karmapa. He said “followers of Buddhism all over the world donate money in large amount, so recovery of foreign currency is not a big issue. If the money is received by virtue of donations, then the said money should have been kept in joint account of the trust”.

The Karmapa Office of Administration claims that the cash in question under the current investigation by the police is offerings received for charitable purposes from local and international disciples from many different countries wishing to support His Holiness’ various charitable activities.

On the issue of recovery of Chinese Yuan, the Karmapa administration asserted that “the Chinese currency we can say that his Holiness has a large following of Tibetans from Tibet who make donations in Chinese currency. The fact is that His Holiness the Karmapa has millions of followers around the world, who hold him in the highest esteem and reverence. All our dealings across the world are honest and completely transparent-anything else would be contrary to the Buddhist principals that we live by”.

The administration also claim charges of Kamapa as a Chinese agent baseless and reiterated His Holiness deep affection for the people of India.

Many followers of Karmapa in Sikkim feel that the investigation agencies should come out with some concrete result otherwise it will lead to further complexities and such situation is not good for anyone.

The law will take its own course. But one thing is sure that such allegations have left followers of H.H the Karmapa all around the world deeply hurt.






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