New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Amid speculation of return to India of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the two claimants to the title of 17th Karmapa Lama, it is now reliably learnt that New Delhi is willing to issue a visa to him if he applies for it.
Dorje, who has been living in the US since May 2017, was supposed to attend the 13th Religious Conference on Tibetan Buddhism that was scheduled to be held at Dharamsala from November 29 to December 1.
However, he did not come and the conference has also been indefinitely deferred resulting in much speculation about whether his absence had anything to do with the postponement.
However, those familiar with the development said on Thursday that though the Indian government does not recognise Dorje as the 17th Karmapa Lama, New Delhi is not averse to issuing a visa if he applies for it.
But Dorje, who now holds a passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica, a small island nation in the Caribbean, has not even applied for an Indian visa, it is learnt.
The recognition of the 17th Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has been the subject of much controversy.
Since the death of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, in 1981, two candidates have been put forward: Ogyen Trinley Dorje, born in 1985, and Trinley Thaye Dorje, born in 1983.
Both have already been enthroned as 17th Karmapa, and both independently have been performing ceremonial duties in the role of a Karmapa.
While China and the 14th Dalai Lama have given recognition to Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje was enthroned as the 17th Karmapa at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute in New Delhi.
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who was enthroned as the 17th Karmapa at Tsurphu Monastery in Lhasa when he was aged seven, in December 1999, eluded his Chinese minders and escaped over the Himalayan mountains to live in exile in India.
As the Indian government saw him as a normal Tibetan refugee in India, he was issued an identity certificate (IC) whenever he wished to travel abroad.
However, after having acquired a Commonwealth of Dominica passport, he did not inform the Indian government and the IC issued by India has also become invalid.
Now, if he wants an Indian visa, he will have to apply for it through his Commonwealth of Dominica passport.
It is also learnt that Indian missions abroad have been directed to issue him a visa if he applies for it through that passport.