OLYMPICS 2008

Olympic torch relay turns a law and order issue

15 April, 2008

The Olympic torch relay, once considered a symbol of peace and co-existence, is turning out to be a law-and-order problem globally. The Olympic torch has been witnessing wide spread protests across the world over the issue of “Free Tibet."

Demonstrators in different parts of the world are targeting the relay over China's treatment of Tibetans during a recent crackdown after riots and protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa and surrounding regions. As the Olympic torch enters Indian shores, protests are getting intensified. On April 16, 2008, a large number of Tibetans tried to attack the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi as a mark of protest. Waving Tibetan flags and wearing 'Free Tibet' headbands, about 60 protestors, including women, emerged near the Embassy located in high security Chanakyapuri area.

Controversies are also raging around the participation of celebrities in the Olympic torch relay. While Baichung Bhutia and others have cited Tibet as the reason for not joining the torch relay, some others have cited security as a major concern for not attending the rally. India's first lady IPS official Kiran Bedi had backtracked saying she didn't want to feel caged as she runs with the torch.

Even now the Indian Olympic Association has no idea about the list of sports and film personalities taking part in the run. The latest to join the group abstaining from the torch rally is star batsman Sachin Tendulkar. He has cited injury as a reason for abstaining from the torch rally. Adding spice to the controversy, Indian Hockey Federation chief KPS Gill has said that he is against moves to make the curtain raiser for the world's greatest sports fest into a publicity exercise.

It is expected that 13 sportspersons including Pullela Gopichand, Shiney Wilson, Milkha Singh and Anju Bobby George, P.T. Usha, Rajinder Singh Rahelu, Abhinav Bindra and Manavjit Singh Sandhu would participate in the torch rally.

Intensifying their protest ahead of the Olympic torch relay, scores of Tibetans have attempted to storm the Chinese embassy here and clashed with security personnel. Waving Tibetan flags and wearing 'Free Tibet' headbands, about 60 protestors, including women, emerged near the Embassy located in Chanakyapuri.

 
 

 

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