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Tibetans protest removal of McLeodganj scene with Tibetan flags from film

November 9, 2011

DHARMASALA: Tibetan activists staged a mass protest at the main chowk of McLeodganj near here on Monday, shouting slogans of "Sada haq, Free Tibet" opposing the decision of Censor Board of India to remove Tibetan flag from the upcoming movie "Rockstar" directed by Imtiaz Ali featuring Ranbir Kapoor as a Rockstar. Tibetans were shown during the song sequence "Sada haq ithe rakh" shoot in a monastery near Dharamsala last year.
Activists and students of Free Tibet-India (SFT) Association, having branches in 35 countries across the world, had planned rallies and action in several cities including Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Calcutta to protest the Censor Board decision to remove Tibetan flag and "Free Tibet" banners from the film, being released Friday.
They demanded that the Censor Board reverse its decision before the release of the film. Dorjee Tseten, national director of SFT, has sought a meeting with chief executive officer Pankaja Thakur and has left for Mumbai.
Before leaving for Mumbai, Dorjee Tseten said it was extremely disturbing that such a grotesque violation of free speech is occurring in the world's largest democracy.
"For the Indians, it's just an issue of violation of 'freedom of expression'. But for us, it's an issue of survival for Tibetans inside Tibet where monks are dying in self-immolations," he said. Representatives at the headquarters of various Tibetan NGOs here said they have asked activists in Mumbai to seek an appointment with the movie director before release of the film.
Director of Tibetan Action Institute, Lhadon Tethong said from New York that it is absolutely clear about Chinese influence in banning Tibetan flags in "Rockstar". "Chinese know well about the power and influence of films and cultural expression. They are therefore targeting these films. India is the largest democracy in the world where there is so much support for the Tibetan freedom and human rights in general," she added.
Last year, while shooting the song, the film crew had allowed Tibetans to carry Tibetan flags and banners like "Free Tibet" which has given an opportunity for Tibetans to showcase themselves and their cause through a Bollywood flick.

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