From Reuters – Indian soccer captain Bhaichung Bhutia has refused to carry the Olympic torch this month in protest against China’s response to the recent unrest in Tibet, an Olympic official said on Tuesday. The player has informed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that he will not be part of the relay in India’s capital New Delhi on April 17, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Bhutia, a Buddhist, comes from the northeastern state of Sikkim bordering China which has a significant Buddhist minority population.
“I sympathise with the Tibetan cause. I have many friends in Sikkim who follow Buddhism,” Bhutia told The Times of India. “This is my way of standing by the people of Tibet and their struggle.”
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“What is happening in Tibet is not right and in my own small way I felt I should show my solidarity.”
India, which hosts Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile, has seen a wave of protests since China’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in Tibet last month.
Indian authorities have assured China about security arrangements during the torch relay after Tibetan protesters stormed the Chinese embassy in New Delhi last month.