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Tibetan protestors take out parallel torch relay
April 17, 2008 13:12 IST
Hundreds of Tibetans on Thursday took out a parallel torch relay run in New Delhi, coinciding with the Olympic flame event, to protest against Chinese 'atrocities' in their homeland.
The torch was lit at Rajghat, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi [Images], after an inter-religion prayer meeting.
A large number of Tibet [Images]ans, who had assembled at Rajghat, took a pledge to ensure that the torch, which 'signified the freedom of Tibet and humanity', keeps on burning.
The protestors, who took part in the rally, starting from Rajghat, carried Tibetan flags, placards and banners with messages such as 'Azad Tibet, Surakshit Bharat' and 'Free Tibet'.
Among the participants in the rally were a large number of monks attired in traditional red robes, women and children besides spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh and actor-turned activist Nafisa Ali.
Agnivesh said majority of Indians were with Tibetans and the Dalai Lama [Images] was following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi.
"The official relay has little spirit of Olympics [Images] as it is being organised under extreme security. So we decided to live up to the original spirit of Olympics and organise a parallel run," Tseten Norbu, spokesperson of Tibetan Solidairy Committee, organising the protests, said.
At Jantar Mantar, which has been the epicentre of the Tibetan protests over the past several days, a large number of protestors had also assembled.
Several Tibetan groups such as 'Tibet Freedom Movement' and 'Tibetan Youth Congress' and panchayat members from the Tibetan settlements in different parts of the country had been camping at Jantar Mantar.
The protestors have set up a symbolic Tibetan monastery there and have held prayers in memory of those killed in the anti-China protests in Lhasa, which broke out on March 10.
A large number of police personnel were deployed at Chinese embassy in Chanakyapuri, where a number of protests have taken place recently.
The roads have been barricaded and security personnel were keeping a tight vigil.
The Olympic torch relay had been plagued by disruptions in London [Images], Paris and San Francisco.