Sunday 30 January 2011

Karmapa Office refutes “speculative allegations”

Phayul[Saturday, January 29, 2011 22:00]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, January 29: Even as the search by Indian police continued for the third consecutive day at the residential premises of the 17th Karmapa Lama, his office on Saturday formally issued a statement “categorically” refuting allegations that have surfaced in a section of Indian media, calling them as being “grossly speculative”.

The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee begins prayers at the inaugural day of the 28th Kagyu Monlam in Bodh Gaya, India, 15 December 2010. (Phayul Photo)
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee begins prayers at the inaugural day of the 28th Kagyu Monlam in Bodh Gaya, India, 15 December 2010. (Phayul Photo)
“We would like to categorically state that the allegations being leveled against the Karmapa and his administration are grossly speculative and without foundation in the truth,” the statement said.

“We categorically deny having any link whatsoever with any arm of the Chinese government” it added.

Meanwhile, reports by Indian press, especially television channels are throwing up questions linking Karmapa to China which had added a whole new dimension to the recent haul of over 5 Crore rupees from the Tibetan religious leader’s monastery here.

In the statement released here today, the Office of the Karmapa stated that the cash in question under the police investigation was “offerings received for charitable purposes” from local and international disciples the world over.

“Monasteries across the world receive offering from devotees in various forms - there is nothing surprising, new or irregular in this,” the statement said.

“Any suggestion that these offerings were to be used for illegal purposes is libelous,” it added.

Speculations by Indian media reports about Karmapa’s possible link with China mainly stemmed from reported seizure of Chinese currency amounting to about 70,00000 in Indian rupees (70 Lacs).

Media reports have also raised speculation about a huge amount of “black money” being used by the office of the Karmapa Lama to "illegally” acquire a land in and around Dharamsala to build a monastery.

While the office of Karmapa today acknowledged about its plans to purchase “suitable land” to build a monastery as a permanent residence for the Karmapa, it however, refuted allegations of wrongdoings in the process.

"All our dealings across the world are honest and completely transparent - anything else would be contrary to the Buddhist principles that we live by," the statement said.

"The Gyalwang Karmapa’s office has kept relevant Indian government agencies fully informed of its recent plans to purchase suitable land. The potential site was evaluated and cleared by the appropriate government offices.”

“This project is clearly subject to Indian government approval,” it added.

"We will supply as much information as available, as regularly as possible but would also like to state that our first priority is to fully cooperate with the investigations underway,” the statement from the Karmapa’s office said.

Karmapa Lama has been temporarily living on the top floor of the Gyuto Tantric Monastic University in Dharamsala, the exile seat of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in northern India, since he made his daring escape to India from Tsurphu in Tibet in January 2000 when he was just 14.

Although the Karmapa was subsequently provided political asylum in the country, the deeply revered Buddhist leader has been kept under the watchful eyes of the intelligence agencies and with round-the-clock police presence at his temporary abode.

Tibetans in exile and Buddhist followers have been visibly disturbed by the latest news, and say that the media speculations against their religious leader being a Chinese spy is "ridiculous" and unnecessary “sensationalism".

“We Tibetans are not traitors as some television channels are trying to portray; we have immense faith in our religious leaders from whom we learn virtues, not sins. And portraying our leader as a Chinese spy and traitor while the investigation is still going on is not a responsible journalism,” said Thupten Tsering, a monk at a local monastery.

Addressing a press conference here this morning, the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile Mr Penpa Tsering said there was "no base" in media speculations linking the Karmapa Lama with Chinese government.

He said the both Tibetan Parliament and the Kashag had been extending all necessary support to come out with the truths about the matter.

Director General of Police, Himachal Pradesh, D S Manhas has reportedly said,“Central agencies, including Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department, are involved in the probe as it has become necessary to know about the source of the currency and also violations committed in keeping such a huge amount in the monastery.”

Meanwhile the residence of Gompo Tsering, secretary of the Karmapa, who was recalled from Dehradun, was also raided Saturday. Foreign currency worth Rs.400,000 was reportedly recovered from his (Tsering's) house during the search.

The agencies also reportedly raided a local businessman K.P. Bhardwaj, who had claimed that the Rs.10 million (Rs.1 crore) recovered from two of his men earlier on Thursday was a payment made by the Karmapa's trust to buy land near here.

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