Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022
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Terracotta Warriors Vs The Flame-Throwers

The Olympic spirit, where was it? At paranoid, clampdown Rajpath or on the street with Tibet?

Terracotta Warriors Vs The Flame-Throwers illustration by Sorit

"DALIE LAMA" said a poster on one of the fleet of sleek, air-conditioned buses in which the Chinese embassy ferried its delegates to the Olympic torch run, with 'LIE' highlighted in red. For many media footsoldiers, however, watching these flag-waving Chinese getting easy entry into the fortress that was Rajpath (while they remonstrated with paranoid cops refusing to honour their media accreditation cards), it was the event itself that was the lie.

"It passed off peacefully," was the relieved official verdict. But it was the peace of the graveyard, enforced by more stringent security than ever witnessed at a Delhi venue. As we watched from a hard-won viewing post in the middle of "Ground Zero", the acres of green between Vijay Chowk and India Gate were efficiently cleansed. Two hours before the relay, the Delhi Metro workers, students, tourists, government employees hanging about waiting for a glimpse of Saif and Aamir, were all "disappeared" by cops into the radial roads around Rajpath.

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