Tibetans Condemn Unfounded Allegations against Karmapa

Karmapa Lama, the third highest ranking Lama, in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala March 2, 2009.

Tibetans carried out candle light rallies in support of their spiritual leader the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee in India's national capital New Delhi, Dharamsala and northeastern state of Sikkim on Sunday.

Following the huge amount of money seized from Karmapa's transit home Gyuto Monastery in a police raid, Indian media have been carrying reports that the Karmapa, who escaped to India from Tibet in 1999, could be a Chinese agent.

Tibetans in India, enraged by recent media accusations agaisnt the Karmapa gathered in large numbers to show solidarity with their spiritual leader. Many Tibetans have blamed sections of Indian media for going overboard and spreading speculations of “Chinese Links” against their spiritual leader.

Five major Tibetan organizations in exile, Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA), the Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet, the National Democratic Party of Tibet, and the Students for a Free Tibet have expressed solidarity with the Karmapa and said the Tibetans are deeply hurt by the recent media allegations of their spiritual leader.

“The money issue will be dealt with under the Indian law, but the reason why we are here is to request media reporters, specifically those reporters who have been running stories with unfounded allegations against the Karmapa to stop such rumours.” said Dorjee Tsetan, one of the organizers for the candle light vigil in Delhi.

He condemned Indian Government and the Indian media for putting “baseless” allegations against the Karmapa and hurting their sentiments.

“Karmapa is well respected spiritual figure not only for the Tibetan people but people around the world and such reports based on rumours are hurting our sentiments,” added Tsetan.

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.