New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) Cracking down on anti-China protestors, police today detained as many as 120 exiled Tibetans and their supporters from various parts of the city as they tried to stage peaceful demonstrations during the Olympic Torch relay here.
Police sources said these people were detained from Jantar Mantar, India Gate, Janpath, Le Meridian crossing and other places which are located in close proximity to Rajpath, the venue for the relay. All the roads leading to the truncated 2.3 km relay route had been sealed and the public kept out.
Tibetans, who had converged in large numbers in Delhi, held a parallel relay to protest against the Chinese atrocities at Rajghat.
Eyewitnesses alleged that police had randomly detained demonstrators and were behaving in a ''highhanded manner'' with the protestors.
''Police was behaving worse than that of the Chinese security personnel... we were within the marked area when they swooped down on us and started randomly detaining people at Jantar Mantar,'' said Tavishree Dutta, a Delhi-based architect who supports the Tibetan cause.
''I did not feel that I was in Delhi and we are a democracy...
the attitude of the police is harassing to say the least,'' she added.
The security personnel detained women monks who were sitting down in prayer within the marked area, said another eyewitness Shoma Tseng, who flew down from the US to join the protest.
''I am disappointed to see how a police official can be discourteous to a monk who is in prayer... Is Indian police vying outdoing their Chinese counterpart on human rights violations,'' she added.
The Olympic flame, which began its worldwide six-continent trek from ancient Olympia in Greece on March 24, has been the focus of protests over China's human rights record.
The turmoil over the torch relay and the growing international criticism of China's policies on Tibet and Darfur have turned the Beijing games-- which is set to begin on August 8 -- into one of the most contentious in recent history.
The national capital was turned into a virtual fortress with unprecedented security blanket thrown in and around the relay venue amid fears of disruption by the Tibetans or human rights groups.
Traffic was filtered in and around the Rajpath area from 1400 hrs. Taking lessons from the disruption of the relay in Paris and London, where the organisers were forced to put out the torch, a multi-layered security cage has been thrown around the area.
More than 1700 personnel were guarding the Olympic relay.
UNI NR-AR LPB BD2005