Kiran Bedi to boycott Olympic torch relay

Updated on Apr 09, 2008 06:21 PM IST

The former IPS officer, who follows Bhaichung Bhutia in boycotting the flame, defends the Tibetans' right to protest.Tibetans' plea | See video

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PTI | By, New Delhi

Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was back in news on Wednesday as she announced her decision not to participate in the Olympic torch run in the capital, saying she "cannot run in a cage".

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

Bedi, who is the second person after footballer Bhaichung Bhutia to boycott the Olympic flame relay in Delhi on April 17, defended the Tibetans' right to protest.

"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," said Bedi.

She charged the organisers of the run with attempting to hide from the world that there were any protests here. The Delhi edition of the run will have around 50 personalities from different walks of life participating in it.

"I cannot run in such an atmosphere. It will be a scuffed environment," Bedi said. She termed the torch as a "symbol of freedom" and complained that its essence would be lost if the run took place with barricades all around.

"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," said Bedi, who recently stepped down as Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development apparently in protest against being overlooked for the post of Police Commissioner of Delhi.

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