New Delhi, April 14 - As a sign of resistance at the arrival of the Beijing Olympics torch relay, Tibetans have decided to run a similar leg in the Indian Capital on the same day. The Tibetan torch relay will be run from Rajghat to the Jantar Mantar conservatory and will see an estimated participation of 5,000 people. The Tibetan Solidarity Committee, in charge of organizing the run and related protests against Chinese mayhem in the Capital said that the 'other torch relay' will be run to protest 'Chinese atrocities in Tibet'. Comprising of both Indian supporters as well as Tibetans and with an expected turn around of 5,000 people, the Committee urges the ban of brute force in Tibet and the passing on of the Beijing Olympics torch in New Delhi.
Tseten Norbu of the Committee says, "Among the Indians, well known writer Arundhati Roy and politician George Fernandes will take part in the relay. Jantar Mantar, where the relay will conclude, will be transformed into 'Little Tibet' by the protestors on that day. Amid all the barricades, we will put up Tibetan tents, replicas of yaks and flowers, have religious congregation...basically create a little Tibet in the heart of Delhi".
Monday morning saw more than 600 Tibetans in exile sit for a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, raising slogans for a "Free Tibet" and protesting against the Beijing Olympics torch relay. Calling it the 'Black Monday', since March 10, the 49th anniversary of the Chinese occupation of Tibet fell on a Monday the protestors sat in the heat sans any food or water. Five hundred Butter Lamps are lit every day for the souls of the deceased to rest in peace. It is a grim reminder of the fact that Tibetans are being killed with each lamp lit in prayer. "Among others, who have come from all across India, the strike today also has the 200 marchers of the 'March to Tibet' who had walked from Dharamsala to Delhi in one month's time," said Tenzin Choeying of the group Students of Free Tibet. The peaceful aura of the place with the reverberating Buddhist chants defied the feelings of the hunger strikers and marchers who were disturbed and pressured because they were not able to act upon their resolve of returning back to Tibet. "We are looking forward to continuing with our march", said a monk and added that he is determined because it is his dream that he hopes will soon be realized. Besides sitting for the strike, the protestors also built an enclosure in which a man was caged, signifying the condition of people back in Tibet. They also hung gory photographs of people bleeding, their limbs amputated and crying for mercy to hit home the message.
"The strike will continue at least until the torch relay is here. After that we will decide what to do next. We want that the Chinese government has a peaceful talk with his holiness, the Dalai Lama," said one of the protesting monks, Ven. Bagdro
Meanwhile, another convoy of Chinese security officials is expected to arrive shortly in the Indian Capital to inspect the route for the Olympic torch run. They will be accompanied by Indian security personals through a survey of the 2.3 km leg of the pass which has already been declared a high security zone by the Indian government. The torch is expected to arrive in Delhi on Thursday afternoon, just hours before the relay. Considering the fact that India is home to the largest number of Tibetans in exile, officials are weary of security breaches as witnessed during the international leg of the torch relay in London and Paris by Pro-Tibet supporters.