SPECULATIONS CONDEMNED AND CLARIFIED, RESOLVE TO STAND BY KARMAPA REINFORCED
GANGTOK, 05 Feb: A sizeable gathering of devotees, carrying Buddhist religious flags in one hand and the Tricolour in the other, turned out at the Guards Ground here at Tathangchen today to attend a meeting organised jointly by the All Sikkim Buddhist Organisation, Joint Action Committee [JAC] and the Karmapa Reception Committee [KRC] in support of the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje.
The programme began at 10 a.m. with a group of monks and Gyamu reciting prayers.
In his welcome address, the JAC president, Kunzang Sherab, clarified that the cash recovered from the Sidhbari Monastery [where the Karmapa has been living in transit for the past 10 years] were accumulated donations. The delay in receiving permission from the Indian government to deposit this stash of foreign currency in a bank was the reason why it was found during the raid, he added. The allegation of the Karmapa being a Chinese spy could very well be the work of an “enemy”, he alleged. “We hope that after the investigation is over, and his name cleared of all allegations, he is allowed to come to Rumtek,” he further added.
President, Sikkim Buddhist Duechen Association, Passang Namgyal, in turn, said that the media wields a lot of power and one expects it to carry out thorough investigation before reporting on anything, but this did not happen in the case of the Karmapa.
He expressed that, “unbiased, just and transparent” investigation is what is expected and hoped for now, adding that “the allegations against the Karmapa are a matter of grave concern for Buddhists across the world”.
Member, KRC, Gay Tshering, informed that around 150 people are on their way to Majnu ka Tila in Delhi and have plans to stage a dharna there in support of the Karmapa. He also clarified that according to Indian law, under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act, foreign currency can only be deposited in a bank by a trust or other registered institutions that have received government permission to do so, also known as FCRA permission, he added.
The Karmapa Office of Administration created a trust, Saraswati Charitable Trust, which repeatedly applied for but did not receive permission to deposit foreign currencies. It thus created another trust, Karmae Garchen Trust, whose application for FCRA permission to deposit foreign currency was submitted last year and is still pending. With no legitimate means of depositing or exchanging this foreign currency, the money was left to pile up over time, awaiting the day when it could be legitimately deposited.
“There are currencies of around 25 other countries as well in the cash hauled during the raid, so does that make the Karmapa a spy of all the other countries as well?” he asked.
He went on to condemn the book, “Buddha’s Not Smiling” by Erik D. Curren which speaks of corruption in Tibetan Buddhism. This was followed by the burning of the book amidst shouts from the public.
President, Tibetan Youth Club, Chung Chung, ridiculed the terming of ‘Dharamshala’ to ‘Dhanshala’ by some national media houses, expressing deep disappointment and anger at such cheap reportage. He further stated that the allegation of land acquisition in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh is baseless since Tawang does not even have a Kagyu monastery.
The All Sikkim Tamang Buddhist Association president, Kumar Yonzon, in his address, denounced the use of the word ‘chor’ for Ogyen Trinley Dorjee by Shamar Rinpoche’s candidate Thaye Dorjee in the local media, further adding that such behaviour is unbecoming of a spiritual Buddhist leader.
He also drew attention to the fact that this incident could very well take a positive turn by reviving the issue of bringing the Karmapa to Rumtek. He further appealed that the investigation should continue with all the respect that a Dharmaguru deserves.
Member, Machig Rimed, Mrs Dolkarla, in her address requested the media to show and publish authentic news. “Greater the darkness of the night that falls, quicker will be the sunrise,” she added to console the distraught followers of the Karmapa.
Member, KRC, NT Bhutia, in his address questioned the opening of the Nathula border for trade by the Central government if there was such a serious threat of espionage from China. He further demanded that all central security forces be removed from the Rumtek monastery.
KRC general secretary, Karma Tshering, in his address, clarified that the Karmapa is not personally involved in the management of finances and that even Union Minister, Veer Bhadra Singh has expressed support for the Karmapa on this matter.
JAC’s Thukchuk Lachungpa, appointed the spokesperson for JAC and KRC recently, said that media allegations of the Karmapa visiting Hong Kong to meet Chinese representatives were unfounded and untrue, in fact, it is the Shamar Rinpoche and his candidate who frequently visit Hong Kong, he said.
All the speakers today, condemned the manner in which the issue has been taken up by the media and expressed full faith in the Karmapa. The vote of thanks was given by Rinzing Bhutia and the resolutions adopted today read out.
Following are the resolutions:
1. We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the Government of India for giving shelter to His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorjee, after he escaped from Tibet.
2. The State government has so far been extending full support whenever necessary. We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to the chief minister and the state government.
3. It was resolved to strongly condemn the malicious and unsubstantial allegations levelled by some of the media on our revered Guru, the 17 th Karmapa. The media needs to behave more responsibly.
4. It was resolved to condemn baseless allegations being levelled by some individuals with vested interests, thus harming the very Dharma, which they claim to be followers of.
5. It is resolved to request the government of India to conduct a fair, thourough and transparent investigation into the whole matter at the earliest. We have full faith in the justice system of the country.
6. It was resolved to place on record our thanks and appreciation for the support and confidence shown by the Dalai Lama on the Karmapa.
7. It was resolved to place on record our thanks and appreciation for the support and solidarity shown by the followers of the Karmapa and all Buddhists in general and even the people of other faiths to the Karmapa in these trying times.
8. It was resolved that some time in the near future we may have to undertake a long march to Delhi if need be.
9. It was resolved to condemn the book ‘Buddha’s Not Smiling’ by Erik D Curren.