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'The Flame of Shame'

April 19, 2008
The torch episode seemed completely like a private Chinese party. It was a torch of tyranny and a flame of shame," claimed Tensin Choeyingo, president of Students for Free Tibet.

He was speaking about the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi. The relay, carried out under a massive security blanket, ended without any untoward incidents.

Guarded by as many as 17,000 security personnel, the Beijing Olympic torch was taken through a 2.3 km stretch in Delhi on Thursday. For over five hours, the majestic Rajpath was turned into a security fortress with the Prime Minister's Office and Ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Finance lining the torch route from Rashtrapati Bhavan, shut down.

Sportsmen Milkha Singh,Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Aslam Sher Khan, Dhanraj Pillay, Zafar Iqbal, Wilson Cherian, Khazan Singh, K Malleswari, K Kunjurani, Bishen Singh Bedi took part in the event. Tinsel town was represented by actors Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan.

The public was kept out and all the access roads to the historic stretch was cut off for several hours to ensure a smooth passage of the torch relay, which was earlier plagued by disruptions in London, San Francisco and Paris.

With the area in and around Rajpath out of bounds, hundreds of Tibetans took out a parallel torch relay run from Rajghat, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, to Jantar Mantar, which has been the epicentre of Tibetan protests over the past several days.

The protestors carried Tibetan flags, placards and banners with messages such as 'Azad Tibet, Surakshit Bharat' and 'Free Tibet'.

Image: A torch-bearer at the Olympic torch relay at Rajpath in New Delhi on Thursday.
Photograph: P Vijay Verma/PTI Photo

Also See: Protests greet Olympic torch in US
Tibet Revolts
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