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Official Statement from by the DNST


IIIIIIIII Date: 24.08.00

New Delhi

The Karmapa controversy, now in its eighth year, has further deepened with the clandestine entry to India in early January last, of the Chinese-nominated Ugyen Thinley Dorje. Now Sikkim Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling has shown his open support for the Chinese "Karmapa" by urging the Centre to permit the Chinese national to enter Sikkim and assume the Dharma Seat at Karma Kagyu headquarters at Rumtek, Sikkim. The latest move made by the Chief Minister seems to ignore the religious sentiments of the majority of Kagyu followers in India, particularly in Sikkim.

Besides, the move is inconsistent in that he seems to be unconcerned with the national interests at a time when India is facing increasing security threats in the sensitive Border States. What made Chamling depart from his position of neutrality to the pro- Ugyen Thinley moves being made by the latterís camp is worth an exercise of vigorous investigation by all concerned. The Chief Ministerís move has further accelerated the pace of turmoil in the Karma Kagyu community all over India and abroad.

The Chinese "Karmapa"- Ugyen Thinley Dorje- has been in India illegally for over seven months now and the Centre has maintained a studied silence and chosen to tread cautiously. Legally speaking, there is no refugee law in India and persons entering India in the manner in which Ugyen Thinley did last January, ought to have been dealt with under the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1939. Ugyen Thinley is a foreigner. Since he entered India illegally and is not a refugee, he ought to have been deported within hours of his crossing the boundaries of India. That has not happened so far. However, there has been a vociferous demand from an NGO based at Gangtok, (the DNST) Sikkim for the immediate expulsion from India of the Chinese national who is perceived as a potential usurper of the Dharma Throne of the late Karmapa, located at Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek, Sikkim.

The Gangtok-based Denzong Nang-Ten Sung-kyob Tsogpa (DNST), an NGO composed of all sections of the population of Sikkim having the support of over 50,000 members from the four districts, has approached the Centre in May last and is here again to meet the Prime Minister and prominent leaders of the ruling as well as the Opposition parties including senior bureaucrats, and apprise them of the disastrous consequences in the event of the Chinese "Karmapa" entering the sensitive border State. Two memorandums submitted to the Prime Minister by the DNST from May last have firmly urged the Centre to push back Ugyen Thinley immediately in the interests of the nation. The DNST delegation has asserted that there will be total chaos in Sikkim if the Chinese national is permitted to usurp the Dharma Throne at Rumtek, Sikkim. Besides, thousands of people from all the four districts of Sikkim have expressed grave concern and supported the campaign led by the DNST.

It may be recalled that in May 1997, the then Chief Secretary to the Government of Sikkim had, in a note forwarded to the then Cabinet Secretary, Government of India warned that the Karmapa controversy can assume "complex dimensions" once the Trustees of the Karmapa Charitable Trust demit their offices the moment Karmapa attains the age of 21. The State Chief Secretary, asserted that "we have to take note of the clear intention of the Chinese to expand their influence on the religious consciousness of not only the Tibetans but also of the population in the entire Himalayan region".

In Delhi, the DNST delegates met a host of leaders of the ruling and the Opposition parties including senior bureaucrats in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Prominent among the leaders who interacted with the DNST delegates are: Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Congress President and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mrs. Krishna Bose, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, Union Law Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, Civil Aviation Minister Shri Sharad Yadav, Dr. Prassanna Patasani, MP and leader of the BJD, former Minister of State for External Affairs Shri R.L. Bhatia, M.P. and more than half-a-dozen MPs of both the Houses of Parliament. Among the senior bureaucrats, the DNST met Home Secretary Shri Kamal Pande and Joint Secretary Shri G.K. Pillai. The delegation also called on Shri Brajesh Mishra, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister in South Block and submitted copies of Memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister.

The DNST delegates finally submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the External Affairs Minister. In the Memorandum, the DNST urged the Centre not to yield to the pressures exerted by the pro-Chinese groups supporting Ugyen Thinley Dorje and pleaded that the Chinese "Karmapa" should be pushed back immediately for the security and integrity of India.

Publicity Secretary, DNST.

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