Category: Police Raid Jan 2011
SIDHWARI (DHARAMSHALA): Thousands of devotees thronged Gyuto Monastery near Dharamshala to show solidarity with the next possible Tibetan spiritual leader, Karmapa.
A Karmapa aide was arrested from his monastery after officers swooped on it and discovered currencies from 25 countries besides $600,000 in cash earlier this week. The devotees gathered at the shrine as investigations into the recovery progressed on Saturday and reports a day earlier that Indian intelligence agencies suspect that he could be a "Chinese spy".
"The numbers at the public darshan of the holiness were unprecedented. We stopped recording them after we were unable to handle the crowd," a security personnel at the monastery said.
This TOI correspondent was the only journalist to meet Karmapa and even received a sacred thread from him. No mobile phones and cameras were allowed inside the temple and devotees were frisked.
Even inside the shrine, Karmapa's guards formed a security ring around him. He meets public on Wednesday and Saturday but avoids interacting with media. He has not met reporters since the controversy broke.
The devotees, including foreigners, as usual made offerings to him and he blessed them with a sacred thread purified by chanting of mantras. One of his followers showed a bag of offerings containing different currencies. Monks were tight-lipped.
A large number of devotees bowed before him and they chanted the padmasutra with beads in their hands inside the massive temple complex. Many prayed for his safety. Shrine officials said the crowds swelled as TV channels indicated that he could be questioned. One woman received the thread from him and started crying.
One of his German follower, Christa, hugged another sobbing woman. "We stand by Karmapa. He is no Chinese spy," she said. Christa said people are worried and that followers make offerings in their currencies. The mood at the monastery was defiant.
Another German follower Steffi rubbished the controversy as political. " India is full of saints and they cannot treat them so shabbily."