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Aamir declines requests to boycott Olympic torch relay

Despite empathising with Tibetans, Bollywood star Aamir Khan has agreed to run with the Olympic torch in New Delhi.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 01, 2008 09:27 PM IST

After footballer Baichung Bhutia backed out on the Tibet issue, Bollywood star Aamir Khan on Monday agreed to run with the Olympic torch in New Delhi. Though he empathises with Tibetans and their cause, but he feels the games "do not belong to China".

Declining requests not to take part in the relay, he asked them "to understand that when I do run with the torch on April 17, it is not in support of China. In fact, it will be with a prayer in my heart for the people of Tibet".

The Indian Olympic Association has roped in celebrities like the actor, former supercop Kiran Bedi and tennis ace Leander Paes although Bhutia has declined to run in the event citing the Tibetan issue.

Former Olympic football captain P K Banerjee has also decided to participate, despite his failing health (given that he is 71) as it is a matter of pride for him.

Aamir said in a statement posted on his weblog, "I have the highest regard for the struggle that the people of Tibet are going through. I completely empathise with them".

He said he was against any form of violence, was "deeply upset" whenever human rights were violated and "I feel the Olympic games do not belong to China".

It represented the coming together of people from across the world despite differences and difficulties and provided an opportunity for sportsmen and women to showcase their talent, he said.

"I am no one to tell any group of people how they should conduct their struggle. I am not part of it and am not going through what they are going through. But my heart goes out to them," he said.

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