Monday, March 31, 2008

Bhutia says no to torch relay

This is the time for all those who feel for the Tibet cause to stand tall against the injustice Tibetians have been subjected to over the years. The dream of living in a free country is noT a crime under any law, but the Chinese Oppression is ceratinly the most heinous crime. China must respect the integrity and sovereignty of TIBET & TAIWAN and respect their culture and traditions.

The flame of protests seems to be raging mightier than the Olympic flame itself with protestors from over the world doing their bit to highlight the Tibetian point of view. In a shock for all, India football captain Baichung Bhutia refused to run with the flame when it reaches New Delhi on April 17.

The decision to not carry the flame was informed to the Indian Olympic Association on Monday through a fax after he had been bestowed with the honour of carrying the Olympic torch on the India leg of its journey.

Talking to a leading newspaper, Bhutia, a gifted athlete and a devout a Buddhist, said, ‘‘I sympathize with the Tibetan cause. I have many friends in Sikkim who follow Buddhism. This is my way of standing by the people of Tibet and their struggle. I abhor violence in any form.’’

The star footballer emphasized that he had not been requested by any group to pull out of the torch run. ‘‘This is an absolutely personal decision. I feel what’s happening in Tibet is not right and in my small way I should show my solidarity.’’

Bhutia is among a growing list of celebrities who have refused to carry the Olympic flame as a mark of protest against the violence done against Tibetians.

In February, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg withdrew as an artistic adviser to the Olympics over China’s support to the Sudanese government at a time when the regime had been charged with massacres in the country’s Darfur region.

Last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he did not rule out France boycotting the games if the situation in Tibet worsened.

Suresh Kalmadi, president of the IOA, had apparently not received any intimation of Bhutia’s plans. ‘‘The fax has not reached me as yet since I’m not in my office,’’ he said. Kalmadi added that there were a plethora of top athletes like PT Usha, Milkha Singh and Gurbachan Singh Randhawa have been invited for the event.

Although Bhutia is known for not having strong political views, he has made up his mind to side with Tibet for their cause. Perhaps this stems out from the fact that even the most gentle of souls can be stirred beyond the point of being submissive when their core ethics are challenged.

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