New Delhi, April 17 – A scuffle ensued between Tibetan protestors and police at the parallel torch relay that started from Rajghat, New Delhi today. Reports say the relay was authorized by the Indian Government though the bearing of the ‘Tibetan torch’ was not. Scores of Tibetans took to the streets with a parallel torch relay, organized by the Tibetan Solidarity Committee coinciding with the Olympic torch event to voice concerns over the Chinese bloodbath in Tibet.

More than 5000 Tibetans and supporters who assembled at Rajghat took a pledge to ensure that the torch which ‘signified the freedom of Tibet and humanity’ continued to burn. They were seen carrying the Tibetan National Flag, placards and banners with messages such as ‘Azad Tibet’ and ‘Surakshit Bharat’.

Apart from senior politicians, other high profile participants in the relay saw Spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh and actor-turned social activist Nafisa Ali.

“The official relay has little spirit of Olympics as it is being organized under extreme security. So we have decided to live up to the original spirit of Olympics and organize a parallel run,” said the spokesperson of the Tibetan Solidarity Committee, Tseten Norbu.

According to Kunchok Yamphel, PR Secretary, TYC an estimate of 170 members of the organization from various regions of India tried to breach the tight cordon of security around the relay route at Rajpath during the run. The attempt to break through the defense barriers was made from eight different entry points by the protestors. All activists were arrested with a member Kalsang Norbu, 27 from RTYC-Shimla sustaining severe injuries due to heavy lathi-charging by the officers. The police have reportedly broken his arm in the tussle and he is now admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Sungrab Gyatso, 28, a monk, was also admitted to the same hospital after he was gravely hurt in an attempt to jump over the barricaded fence. In another incident, the Culture Secretary Lhakpa Tsering was arrested outside Le Meridian where he was protesting against the Chinese onslaught.

The Indian leg of the global Olympic torch relay has ended after a shortened 2.3 kilometer run. The relay concluded without any untoward incident at India Gate due to heavy security arrangements. The Indian Government had dispatched a team of 16 Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP), 70 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACP), and 140 Inspectors to supervise the 18,000 security officials under the direct command of Joint Commissioner of Police, Ajay Kashyap.

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