India must ensure safe passage of Olympic torch: Left

April 9th, 2008 - 5:03 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) India’s communist parties Wednesday asked the government to stick to its commitment and ensure that the Olympic torch has a safe and full passage through the country. “The government must adhere to its commitments and see to it that there are no disruptions,” said Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member.

The Indian government has assured that it would make “all possible arrangements” to ensure the safety of the Olympic torch during its passage through the country April 17 after Beijing expressed concern about Tibetan protesters targeting the flame.

Yechury’s comments came in the wake of apprehensions that Tibetan protesters may force authorities to scrap the Olympic procession altogether.

The route for the procession has already been shortened. The India journey of the Olympic torch, which had been scheduled from the Red Fort for about nine kilometres, has reportedly been truncated to a mere two to three kilometres.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja said: “It is an international event. Linking the Olympics with the Tibetan issue is unfair. The government should ensure that the full procession, as scheduled earlier, should take place.”

He said there had been other instances in the past where some countries had boycotted the Olympic games. “Every country has its own problems. Linking them with an international event is uncalled for,” Raja told IANS. “Such political issues should not mar the games.”

Raja added that Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama should not give directions to the Indian government. “It is fine that the Dalai Lama has taken refuge here. But he cannot direct the Indian government on what should it do.”

The CPI-M, which has always defended China and its policies, has warned that Indian leaders supporting the Tibetans’ demand for autonomy should keep in mind that India also has to deal with separatists.

The Olympic torch is heading from Islamabad to New Delhi on April 17 and will stay in the country for two days before moving on to Bangkok.

The uncertainty over the Olympics torch procession intensified with former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi also backing out from it. Footballer Baichung Bhutia had said he would not be a part of the programme.

China had expressed its displeasure over the storming of its embassy in New Delhi by Tibetan protestors last month.

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