Sikkim Buddhists want their Karmapa back

Gangtok: As the lone Lok Sabha constituency in Sikkim goes to poll on April 12, the Buddhist minority want their Karmapa to his seat in Rumtek monastery while the Nepali communities, which form almost half of the populace, seek tribal status.

With less than 30 per cent of the population, Buddhists are the largest minority in the Himalayan state. All the six candidates for the seat are promising to try to enthrone the Karmapa in Sikkim.

Karmapa is a spiritual leader of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism and is waiting to be enthroned in Rumtek monastery, the largest and most important seat of Buddhism in Sikkim.

Citing security concerns, the union Home Ministry has restricted Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Karmapa, to travel to Sikkim.

"He is our guru and should be here with his disciples. No one should politicise religion and stop Karmapa from coming here," Sonam Dorjee Lama of Rumtek monastery said.

The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front's (SDF) candidate and sitting MP Prem Das Rai has promised to pursue the issue with the Centre and bring the monks their guru.

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM)'s Tek Nath Dhakal says the people of the state have given enough time to SDF.

"We want the right Karmapa to come here," he says but refuses to comment on the controversy whether Ogyen Trinley Dorje or Trinley Thaye Dorje should be regarded as the 17th Karmapa.

Although they are not being considered as strong contenders, the Congress, BJP, Trinamool and Aam Aadmi Party have also fielded candidates for the seat.

There are 3,70,731 voters in the constituency including 1,79,650 female voters. None of the six candidates are however women.

Polling would be held in 538 booths with the Election Commission deploying more than 3,200 polling personnel. Lok Sabha and Assembly elections would be held simultaneously on April 12. Granting of tribal status is also an issue here.

As per the recommendations of the Burman Committee, the SDF government is on a mission to make Sikkim a tribal state. They have already accorded tribal status to Tamang and Limboo community.

This time they have also promised reservation of seats for them in the State Assembly. 12 seats are already reserved for the Bhutia-Lepcha community.

All the remaining communities of Sikkim like Bahun, Chettri, Rai, Gurung, Newar, Manger, Bhujel, Jogi, Sanyasi, Sunuwar, Yakha, Dewan, Mukhia, etc will be accorded scheduled tribe status as per the Burman Commission recommendation and Sikkim would be granted a tribal state status, promises sitting MP Prem Das Rai who will be defending his seat.

PTI
First Published: Wednesday, April 09, 2014, 14:53
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