Tibetans March in Support of Karmapa

Thousands of devotees Wednesday took out a peaceful march in Dharamsala to condemn speculation in the Indian media about a possible "Chinese link" against the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje following the recovery of unaccounted currrency worth nearly $1.6 million from his monastery in a police raid.

Many Tibetan exiles say the Indian media have acted irresponsibly by publishing "unfounded" allegations against their religious leader before the police probe is even complete. Thousands of Tibetans, Indians and Western Buddhists joined the march to show their solidarity with the Karmapa.

The Karmapa left China in 1999 to join the Tibetan exile community in the northern city of Dharamsala. He is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and considered the third most important leader in Tibetan hierarchy after the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. The 25-year old monk's name is frequently raised in discussions of a successor to the 75-year-old Dalai Lama.

China says Tibet is an integral part of its territory and claims an entire Indian state, referring to it as "southern Tibet." It views the Dalai Lama as a separatist leader. India's hosting of the Dalai Lama and his followers is one of the most sensitive issues in its relationship with Beijing.