Olympic torch arrives in India amid Tibetan protests

New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) The Olympic torch arrived here today from Pakistan on the second leg of its relay in Asia amid security worries as Tibetan protesters vowed to disrupt its passage through the capital.

The relay route, which has been trimmed due fears over demonstrations by Tibetans, will see unprecedented security arrangements.

The torch, which is en route to China for the Beijing Olympics, was carried off a plane before dawn by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi.

It was then taken along a route lined with hundreds of police to spend the rest of the night in a luxury hotel.

Police detained about two dozen Tibetan protesters along the route and in front of the hotel. Many were dragged into police vans as they shouted anti-China slogans.

The IOA was left red-faced after several celebrities including Bhaichung Bhutia, Sachin Tendulkar, Kiran Bedi and Soha Ali Khan pulled out of the relay.

A total of 70 torch-bearers, including 47 current and former athletes, will carry the torch over a distance of 2.5 kilometers.

The torch has been beset by protests through Europe and the Americas, mostly over Chinese in Tibet.

The flame had to be extinguished in Paris after protesters forced organisers to put the torch on a bus to keep it safe.


Story first published: Thursday, April 17, 2008, 13:33 [IST]
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