Gangtok, Apr 3 : Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, a Buddhist who has refused to carry the Olympic torch to express his solidarity with the Tibetan cause, has become a 'hero' among the Tibetan community in Sikkim.
According to reports, Bhutia has informed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that he would not be part of the relay in New Delhi on April 17.
Earlier, he had informed the media that he sympathises with the Tibetan cause and it is his way of standing by the people of Tibet and their freedom struggle.
"We are happy with his decision of refusing to carry the Olympic torch. We feel he is one of those few Buddhists who have not forgotten their duty. We are glad that he is expressing his solidarity towards the Tibetan cause in this manner," said Tenzing Champa , member of Tibetan Youth Congress.
Bhutia's decision to not to carry the Olympic torch and sympathize with the Tibetans in their cause has made him a hero among the exiled Tibetans in Sikkim.
"I felt very happy and touched by his support. I on behalf of all the Tibetans who are staying in Sikkim would like to thank him sincerely for his support in this critical situation in Tibet," said Doma, an exiled Tibetan.
Earlier, the exiled Tibetans had urged Bollywood actor, Aamir Khan to refrain from participating in the relay.
The increasing strife between the Tibetans and the Chinese authorities seems to be casting its shadow over the Beijing Olympics.
Even as the Chinese authorities are keen to stamp out the unrest quickly and restore stability before the Olympics, exiled Tibetans are planning their own games in May with a slogan of 'One World, Many Dreams' countering the Beijing Olympics slogan of 'One World, One Dream'.