Free Tibet, Our Right: Tibetan exiles

Mumbai/Dharamsala: Echoing a song in the movie "Rockstar", slogans like "Free Tibet, sadda haq" and "Free Tibet, Our Right" by Tibetans filled the air in Mumbai Friday as the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer opened in theatres.

They were venting their ire against the censor board`s order to blur the words "Free Tibet" from the Tibetan flags shown a sequence in Imtiaz Ali`s musical thriller.

"It`s was a symbolic protest against the decision of the censor board`s decision," Dorjee Tseten, students for a Free Tibet-India (SFT) national director, told IANS.

SFT is a Dharamsala-headquartered group of the Tibetan exiles.

Dressed in T-shirts supporting Tibet and Tibetan flags, a group of Tibetans gathered outside the Cinemax in Lokhandwala in Mumbai to stage a protest. Later, they also watched the film.

The song "Sadda Haq" was filmed in the Norbulingka Institute near Dharamsala. Following the censor board`s directive, the film`s director blurred the words from the flag. This has disappointed thousands of Tibetans living in India.

Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue, who also participated in the Mumbai protest, said: "It was an injustice with the exiled community whose brothers and sisters in Tibet are facing repression from the Chinese. It was an occasion to highlight their plight."

"Rockstar" is the journey of a musician who leaves his happy life to achieve success as a singer. The film ran into controversy after a scene showed fans waving free Tibet flags as Ranbir sings the song "Saada Haq".

A delegation of Tibetans from Dharamsala met censor board CEO Pankaja Thakur in Mumbai Wednesday on its decision.

"Unfortunately this single opportunity to see a `Free Tibet` banner in a mainstream Hindi film has been banned," Tseten added.

Angry Tibetan activists have already staged rallies across the country.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959. He then headed a Tibetan government-in-exile which never won recognition from any country.

India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.

Beijing is quite sensitive to the issue as it sees that the usage of the flag indicates separatism.


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