Fernandes flags off parallel torch relay by Tibetans

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) In an attempt to ''overshadow'' the Olympic Torch relay in India, Tibetans today took out a symbolic parallel torch run here to protest the Chinese ''aggression'' in Tibet and seek independence for the Himalayan region.

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes, a known China baiter and a great supporter of the Tibetan cause, flagged off the parallel torch run from Rajghat at 1100 hrs, barely few hours ahead of the Olympic Torch relay from Vijay Chowk to India Gate.

Named the Torch 4 Tibet, the peace run was launched after being blessed with an inter-faith prayer at Rajghat at 1030 hrs and carried across to the Samata Sthal.

The torch relay, organised by the Tibetan Solidarity Committee, began with a Yak and a Tibetan dance, performed by artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.

The peace run culminated at Jantar Mantar at around 1300 hrs before passing through LNJP Road, Ram Lila Ground Chowk, Ranjit Singh flyover, Barakhamba Road/Tolstoy Marg crossing, Tolstoy Marg crossing, Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Janpath.

At Jantar Mantar, several pro-Tibet leaders delivered fiery speeches to express their solidarity with the Tibetans.

To boost the morale of hundreds of Tibetans, Mr Fernandes walked along the peace marchers right from Rajghat to Jantar Mantar.

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