x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

India drops criminal charges against the Karmapa Lama

Indian officials dropped all criminal charges against a top Tibetan Buddhist monk seen as a potential successor to the Dalai Lama

NEW DELHI // Indian officials dropped all criminal charges yesterday against a top Tibetan Buddhist monk seen as a potential successor to the Dalai Lama.

Police in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh filed conspiracy charges against the Karmapa Lama last December, after authorities found more than Dh3.67 million (US$1 million) in foreign cash, including Chinese yuan, stashed in his monastery.

The discovery led to allegations in the Indian media — vigorously denied by the 26-year-old Karmapa — that he was a Chinese spy.

"We have decided to drop all criminal charges against the Karmapa," state Home Office official, SP Singh, said.

"The police and the government lawyers thoroughly investigated all the charges and found no real evidence to pursue a case against him."

The Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley, is revered by his followers as the 17th incarnation of the head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

He fled Tibet in 1999 at 14, reaching India after a perilous eight-day winter journey by foot and horseback over the Himalayas.

Since fleeing Tibet, he has mainly lived at the Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala, the northern Indian hill station that is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile.