Gangtok/Panjim, Apr 4 : Footballers in Sikkim have supported national soccer skipper Baichung Bhutia's decision not to carry the Olympic torch.
Terming it as a personal decision, the players of the football academy of Sikkim said that though choosing Bhutia for the relay of the torch in India was an honour that was bestowed upon the football fraternity, they stand by his decision.
The players also said that while politics should not be allowed to influence games, an international issue that has gained such importance is bound to affect other spheres of life as well.
"Sports is a different field and politics is a different field but since it is a question of thoughts, it's his own initiative, he feels that injustice has been done to the Tibetans in China. So, I think it's a good gesture on the part of Baichung Bhutia, who thinks human rights should be saved," said Thupden Bhutia , chief coach of United Sikkim Club.
Bhutia had informed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that he would not be part of the relay in New Delhi on April 17.
Bhutia has decided to give the relay a miss to express his solidarity towards the 'Tibetan cause'.
Even as the Olympic torch is courting and skirting controversies, Tibetans are trying to garner support from all quarters for the 'Tibetan cause' ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
Meanwhile, the exiled Tibetans in Goa had also held a relay hunger strike to protest against the alleged Chinese atrocities in Lhasa.
"We started this relay because there is no peace in Tibet since March 10. Chinese government killed so many Tibetans in Tibet. We are doing not only this relay, but peace march and religious prayer for peace," said Lhakpa Tsering, a protestor.
Tibetans in Goa, are demanding immediate dispatch of independent fact-finding delegations to Tibet.