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Tibetan protestor let off the hook
Indian Express[Friday, August 13, 2004 23:50]
By Ujjayini Das-Panigrahi

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Mumbai, August 12 - THE red bandana on his forehead winds it way down his back, and snakes across his waist-long hair that has been tied into a plait.

His slender frame hides a tenacious spirit which is fighting to free his homeland Tibet from Chinese occupation.

Two years after Tenzin Tsundue made headlines while scaling a five-star hotel in Mumbai to highlight the Tibetan cause, he is finally home free. On Thursday, a local court found him guilty of violating a prohibitory order of the Mumbai Police but did not pass a sentence.

Instead, after hearing his statement, it made him promise that he would not commit such an act again.

On January 16, 2002, Tsundue climbed the scaffolding at The Oberoi to the 14th storey while Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji was staying at the hotel. Tsundue was subsequently arrested.

‘‘I knew that I had to do something outstanding to draw attention to our cause,’’ says Tsundue.

Scaling The Oberoi was not easy. Tsundue first made several visits to the hotel.

After meticulously going through every detail, he decided to climb the structure and display banners of a ‘Free Tibet’.

‘‘Since I believed in my cause, I had no doubts,’’ justifies Tsundue.

Now, Tsundue is off to scaling greater heights. ‘‘If Tibet does not get independence, I will die with this red bandana. But I am sure I will see a free Tibet.’’

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