New Delhi, May 3: The Tibetan monk who till recently had been suspected to be Beijings man in India has slammed Chinas totalitarian regime, in a statement that may have finally set at rest the misgivings of his host.
Tibet is under communist Chinas totalitarian regime. Unlike democratic India, there is no religious freedom there, Ugyen Trinley Dorje, the most popular claimant to the title of the 17th Karmapa, told a news conference in Delhi yesterday.
The bespectacled 26-year-old described India as his home, prompting many to sense a significant shift. The head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism also recognised the Dalai Lama as his spiritual and temporal leader.
The comments came months after alleged financial irregularities embroiled the monk when investigators seized Chinese and other foreign currency worth crores of Indian rupees in his Dharamshala home. Delhi had then suspected China was funding its strategic asset and the money was meant for furthering Beijings interest in the Indian Himalayas.
Yesterday, however, Dorje appeared to have allayed Indias concerns as he launched into a tirade against Chinas misguided policies and rights violations in Tibet and calling India his home.
India is my home now and I would never do anything against the interest of the country or her people, he said.
Observers said the comments should, to some extent at least, silence critics who have been saying the young monk had never uttered a word against China since he came from Tibet in 2000.
It is a shift, said an official in the security establishment.
Some chose to describe the comments as a return gift from Dorje, whom India does not officially recognise as Karmapa. At a recent media conference, however, home secretary G.K. Pillai had referred to Dorje as Karmapa.
At yesterdays meet, Dorje wanted to make several points. The first was that he was not a Chinese spy, agent or plant in India and that such allegations saddened him. He also said he was grateful to India for giving him refuge.
But what should be of interest to the China Study Group and other observers is what he said about the Dalai Lama. I want to reiterate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the sole head of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Dorje said in Tibetan.
This is what is significant, said a retired chief of Indias spy agency RAW.
Sources said it indeed was, considering the differences between the 900-year-old Kagyu sect, which has over 700 branches across the world, and the Dalai Lamas Gelukpa sect.
The Dalai Lama, too, has recognised Dorje as Karmapa.
Dorje slammed China for rights violations in Tibet, especially on the ongoing siege of the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba and the reported arrest of over 300 monks, and appealed to the Central Chinese government to peacefully resolve the current crisis.