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Yashwant Sinha slams UPA government's stand on Tibet

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
April 07, 2008 19:56 IST
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Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, speaking at a seminar organised by Tibetans and their Indian supporters in New Delhi, has offered to dedicate himself to the cause of liberation of Tibet.

Sinha urged the Dalai Lama not to pay attention to the restrictions imposed by the Government of India and to speak out against the repression unleashed by the Chinese rulers.

"Ours would be a peaceful struggle, but if there is a conflict, we should be ready to meet the challenge. I have been given the statement of his holiness, the Dalai Lama, wherein he says that he has decided to find a solution within the framework of the People's Republic of China. I would urge him to give up this path," Sinha said, for the first time taking a bold stand on Tibet issue on behalf of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

He recalled how the Dalai Lama was accorded a public reception in Chandni Chowk by the then Mayor of Delhi Kedarnath Sahaniji. He regretted that the UPA government had not been able to show enough conviction against the Chinese. "When our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visited China, while he was on his knees, the Chinese leader Hu Jintao stood upright. This picture was sent to me by Jaswant Singh," he said as he held up the photograph for the benefit of the media.

He assured the people of Tibet that if the Government of India did not support them, they have the good wishes of the people of India.

"I am surprised that sometimes it is said that if India raises the issue of Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh, China may raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. China has never supported India on Jammu and Kashmir and on numerous occasions, they have raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir on the international forums," he said.

Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry is holding high level meetings with the security officials of the Intelligence Bureau, Research & Analysis Wind, the Delhi police and officials of the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association to chalk out strategies to make sure that the Olympic Torch Relay passes off peacefully in Delhi on April 17. These meetings have assumed greater significance after protestors disrupted the relays in London and Paris.

"We have not finalised the list of participants who would take part in the relay. We will call the media as soon as we are ready," said Sondeep Mehta, spokesman for the IOA.

Milkha Singh has said that he would definitely participate in the relay and appealed to other sportsmen to keep politics separate from sports.

On the other hand, ace shooter and Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has withdrawn his name. Baichung Bhutia, India's football captain, created a flutter in the political arena by declaring his sympathies lie with Tibetans and withdrawing his name.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi