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Yesterday in Sikkim over 50,000 people gathered to put pressure on the Indian government to lift the travel restrictions that have been placed on Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the two lamas recognized as the 17th Karmapa, so that he may return to his home at Rumtek Monastery.
Here are some photos from the event,
via www.karmapatorumtek.org, a statement from the Karmapa Reception Committee,
Over 50,000 people gathered on September 26, 2010 in the peaceful Himalayan state of Sikkim, India. Rally organizers urged the Government of India to lift travel restrictions so the Karmapa can come home.
Since the Karmapa escaped from China in 2000 and took up residence in India, the Indian government has placed many restrictions on his movements and has not allowed him to return to his home monastery in Rumtek, Sikkim which was established by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpai Dorje, as his seat-in-exile.
The rally is the result of a concerted movement by the monastic and Buddhist community of Sikkim over the past few months to bring into focus the one point agenda to bring the KARMAPA TO RUMTEK. It is is an unprecedented gathering in the history of Sikkim. Head representatives from 65 monasteries as well as State Government and leading politicians are supporting the rally and the demand that the Karmapa be allowed to travel freely and to return to Sikkim.
The People of Sikkim have this to say: We are not concerned with International politics – the Karmapa is a very high religious figure and hence should be free to fulfil his religious role – our right to worship is being denied - this is a fundamental issue of religious freedom and India being the largest democracy in the world should address this matter urgently - 10 years have passed since the Karmapa sought freedom in India and he continues to live in temporary facilities under great restrictions which we find very painful and distressing - He has his own establishment in Sikkim, why can’t he come here?
Sikkim has a wonderful record of being the most peaceful State in India but all this may change if something is not done to calm the anger, frustration and restlessness that has been building for many years on this issue.
Images via Josh Baran