July 14, 2014 / 4:22 PM / 5 years ago

Nepal halts cremation of Buddhist monk after Chinese pressure- report

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Nepal has reversed a decision to allow a monk prominent in Tibetan Buddhism to be cremated on its soil after what media reports said was pressure from China and his organisation said on Monday they were in talks with the government in Kathmandu.

Shamar Rinpoche, also known as the Shamarpa, died of a heart attack in Germany aged 62 on June 11, according to his office. He was scheduled to be moved on Sunday to Nepal, where he ran a monastery, for his final rites.

“Because of his will and advice we’re supposed to bring his body to Nepal,” Khenpo Mriti, an administrator at the Karmapa International Buddhist Society in New Delhi that Rinpoche was closely associated with, said on Monday. Rinpoche’s body was taken to India on June 22 for disciples to pay their respects.

Mriti said the government in Nepal had granted the documents for his cremation but later reversed its decision saying Rinpoche had a Bhutanese passport and had died in a foreign country and could not be allowed his final rites there.

The Kathmandu Post reported that the documents had been withdrawn under pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, citing an unnamed Home Ministry source. Embassy officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

Mriti said his group was talking to Nepali authorities and was confident the government would allow the cremation soon.

Nepal is home to more than 20,000 Tibetans - many arrived in 1959 when their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

In recent years, Nepali authorities have crushed Tibetan protests against China, a key trade partner.

Reporting By Sruthi Gottipati; Additional reporting by Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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