There is absolutely no reason to doubt Dalai Lama'srepeated assertions that he is for holding the Beijing Olympics and that he is committed to non-violence and the ?middle path?. Although he has reduced his demand to real autonomy for Tibet within China, most Tibetans continue to yearn for a free Tibet. It is, therefore, not surprising that Tibetan freedom fighters exploited the opportunity offered by holding of the Olympics in Beijing later this year to focus global attention on their plight and to garner support for their cause.
After all, China is showcasing the summer Olympics as its emergence as an economic power house. In all democratic countries where freedom to hold peaceful demonstrations are the in thing, Tibetans and their supporters held aggressive, albeit largely peaceful, demonstrations to educate world opinion on the terrible repression they have been subjected to during the past half a century at the hands of the Communist China. It is a matter of deep regret that barring occasional expression of sympathy for Tibetans, democratic world has failed to forcefully raise its voice against Beijing'sdiabolical demographic aggression and cultural genocide in Tibet. If widespread demonstrations and riots in several parts of Tibet were an expression of Tibetans? undying yearning for freedom, massive demonstrations and disruption of Olympic torch'srun at London, Paris and San Francisco are grim reminders to Beijing that despite its military and economic prowess, Tibetan cause is once again on the international community'sradar. Together these developments have given a fillip to the Tibetan cause.
Beijing has drawn great satisfaction that the pressure it mounted on the weak New Delhi dispensation ensured that the torch'srun in New Delhi was incident free. However, the restricting the run to a few kms on the heavily guarded Raj Path and the restrictions imposed on the movement of men and vehicles on roads leading to the fortress were good publicity for the Tibetan cause. If the protests in New Delhi were not more spectacular, it was not for the lack of planning and efforts by Tibetans.
Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan activist, succinctly expressed his anguish in the following words: ?China has once again proved that with its military power it can even turn the central heart of the capital of a free and democratic country like India into a military zone (and) throw the city'sroads into gridlock?. Freedom fighters are disappointed that secret plans to breach several layers of security cordon around Raj Path didn'tmaterialise.
Tibetan protestors changed their plans several times during the day to break in but failed to penetrate the fortress around Raj Path manned by several thousand security men, including commandos. Not that there were no anti-China demonstration on the day. Around 3,000 Tibetans, including monks, and friends of Tibet, held a parallel run with ?Torch Tibet? a few hours before the official event (Restricted to officials and a handful of sportspersons and film actors). This parallel run was a popular expression of anguish over happenings in Tibet. Simultaneously there were massive rallies in Dharmashala?headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile?and several other cities. The struggle for a free Tibet continues.
Heavens wouldn'thave fallen if the Government had allowed peaceful demonstrations during the flame'srun along the streets of the national capital. Sadly, New Delhi was too keen to prevent any demonstration that might have caused annoyance to the mighty rulers in Beijing leading to the summoning of our Ambassador to the Chinese Foreign Office after midnight as had happened after Tibetan tried to storm the Chinese Embassy a few weeks ago. Overzealous authorities made a mockery of the flame'srun by reducing it into a Government-run and controlled event to the total exclusion of the Indian masses. It may have brought smiles to the rulers in Beijing and encouraged them to look at India as a plaint state. The Government brought shame to the nation that is proud of its democratic credentials by behaving like a dictatorial regime to please a country that is at best our adversary and at worst, our potential enemy. New Delhi'soverkill to please Beijing is bound to encourage China to become more aggressive in its dealings with India on the border issue.
Unfortunately, our Government'sresponse to Beijing'sprovocative actions has not always been prompt and resolute. It is a cause of deep concern as Beijing is bringing the state on the list of unsettled areas long after the two countries had agreed to operationalise a trading post on the Sikkim border. UPA Government needs to resist Communist pressures and deal with China more determinedly and skillfully to protect our national interests and territorial integrity.