Gangtok, Mar 20 (PTI) Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling today said he has written a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, seeking permission for the 17th Karmapa’s Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s visit to Sikkim.

The 17th Karmapa is the head of the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu lineage. He resides in his temporary home at Gyuto monastery in India after making a dramatic escape from Tibet in 2000.

“I wrote a letter today to Sushma Swaraj seeking her assistance and co-operation in permitting the 17th Karmapa, His Holiness Ogyen Trinley Dorje to visit any monastery in Sikkim, if not Rumtek Monastery, to bless our people,” he said.

This (17th Karmapa’s visit) would fulfil the long pending demand of the people and the Sikkim government, the chief minister said.

Chamling has been trying to impress upon the Centre to allow the 17th Karmapa to visit Sikkim to grace his rightful position as the head of Rumtek monastery and a couple of other monasteries in other parts of the Himalayan state.

Hundreds of monks of Rumtek monastery had held relay hunger strike for more than 500 days in the state in 2016 to pressurise the Centre on the issue.

The monks had raised the issue with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit last year, but the Centre has been firm on not allowing the 17th Karmapa visit Sikkim keeping in view China’s position on the issue.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.