Kiran Bedi refuses to run in ''caged'' torch relay

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New Delhi, Apr 9 (UNI) After the withdrawal of football captain Baichung Bhutia, the Indian Olympic Association suffered another major setback with former IPS officer Kiran Bedi refusing to participate in the Olympic torch run.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Ms Bedi said the extra security during the torch relay - to be held here on April 17 - will create a stifling amosphere and will rob the event of the Olympic spirit.

''I respect the Government's decision to organise security, but I love freedom and I cannot run in a cage,'' Ms Bedi said.

''If there is so much fear, then let the police enforce Section 144. Why make Rajpath a Jail? It's a highly secured place. There is no need for barricades. Police ought to manage it well. They can be in plain clothes and make arrests if any miscreant interferes,'' she added.

Bedi, who is a former Asian Games athlete, defended the Tibetans' right to protest as long as the demonstrations are peaceful.

''I understand we need security. But being a democratic country we ought not to suppress democratic ways. Let them demonstrate on one side and let the run happen too,'' she stated.

The torch relay for the Beijing Olympics has sent the security agencies into a tizzy with Tibetan organisations expected to stage massive demonstrations to protest China's occupation of their country.

The torch relay already caused a lot of controversy with protesters forcing the torch to be extinguished in Paris.

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