Now Kiran Bedi refuses to carry Olympic torch

April 9th, 2008 - 10:29 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Former top cop Kiran Bedi did a volte-face Wednesday by refusing to run in the Beijing Olympic torch relay in the Capital April 17. Bedi becomes the second Indian after soccer captain Bhaichung Bhutia to refuse to be a part of the run. Bhutia, a Buddhist, had refused to carry the Flame to show his solidarity with the Tibetans.

Bedi, who had earlier publicly declared that despite all protests she would run with the torch, Wednesday said: “I am a sportswoman. I do not want to run with the torch as a caged woman. Why turn India Gate into a zoo? What is the point of running with the torch? I do not want to participate in a caged environment. If you make the environment so suffocating, then it is better to let the torch travel on wheels or with the Army.”

Bedi, a Magsasay award winner with an illustrious career in the Indian Police Service (IPS), had earlier said: “I am running for the glory of sports. It is the ultimate sporting endeavour. The protest had come too late. The protest should have been there when China was awarded the Games. I will totally run as a former sportswomen.”

The Bejing Games, which will be held from Aug 8-24, has run into trouble following China’s crackdown on Tibet. The Tibetans have been protesting for a free nation.

On Sunday, thousands of protesters waving Tibetan flags and shouting “Shame on China” disrupted the London leg of the torch relay.

Tibetans and other human rights groups are planning similar protests in New Delhi on the day of the torch relay next week to voice their anger against China’s Tibetan policy.

Fearing trouble from Tibetan protestors, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has already shortened the route of the Olympic torch relay. The original 8-9 km run from Red Fort to India Gate has been shortened to 2-3 km. Details of the redrawn route are being worked out.

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