Kalmadi rules out bar on Tibetan protests

April 15th, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Apr.15 (ANI): Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Suresh Kalmadi on Tuesday said that there would be no bar on peaceful Tibetan protests during the April 17 relay of the Olympic torch in the capital.

Kalmadi said New Delhi was a city where thousands of exiled Tibetans lived, and the entire worlds attention would be focussed on the city on April 17, and therefore, it would be inappropriate and unfair to prevent the Tibetans from voicing their views against the Olympic torch relay peacefully.

Observers say that the relay of the torch in New Delhi is a potential attraction for the Tibetan exiles in India to converge in the national capital for staging anti-Chinese protests.

Various Indian cities and towns, including the northern Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, have witnessed sporadic demonstrations following the unrest in Tibetan capital Lhasa.

“Tibet and India have close relations, and His holiness, the Dalai Lama has been living here along with other Tibetans as guests. As a basic courtesy, we do not interfere in each other’s political activities, but we have never denied them their justified rights. On the other hand, it is our responsibility as a nation to ensure that the Olympic torch reaches its next leg safely. We have made arrangements for the same,” said Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed.

However, police in Delhi did not take any chances. They took into custody two East Asian tourists on Tuesday, as they resembled Tibetans in their looks.

Beijing had earlier summoned Indian envoy Nirupama Rao to express its displeasure over Tibetan youths scaling the walls of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi.

China has voiced its anger against the disruptions in the torch relay and warned of harsh punishment for those involved in the unrest in Tibet.

The Tibetan protests that started on March 10, marking their uprising day spilled out of Tibet and parts of China as well as to other parts of the globe ahead of the Beijing Olympics. (ANI)

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