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Indian protesters shave heads, donate blood for Tibet

April 8, 2008

NEW DELHI: 7 Apr 2008 (AFP) - Hundreds of protestors in India and Nepal
on Monday shaved their heads and donated blood in fresh protests over
China's crackdown against unrest in Tibet, witnesses said.

Those going bald included Indian Sikhs -- for whom uncut hair is an
article of faith -- and a three-year-old girl.

"For Sikhs, it is a personal and political decision to grow your hair,"
protester Baljit Malik, 70, said in New Delhi.

"Today I am cutting it for political reasons."

Youdon Aukatsang, a member of the India-based Tibetan
parliament-in-exile, said "shaving our heads is the strongest
non-violent signal we can send."

Others at the New Delhi demonstration, which drew hundreds of people
from various faiths, donated blood for a local treatment centre "in
honour of killed Tibetans," Aukatsang said.

Tibetan exiles say more than 150 Tibetans have been killed in China's
crackdown on the protests against its rule of the Himalayan region.
Beijing says Tibetan rioters have killed 20 people.

Mass shavings were also part of symbolic protests in the northern Indian
hill town of Dharamshala, where the Tibetan parliament-in-exile is
based, and in Nepal's capital Kathmandu.

Aukatsang said Tibetan activists were planning regular protests in New
Delhi leading up to the Olympic torch's arrival on April 17.

Tibetan exiles in India have threatened to disrupt the torch relay,
prompting Indian authorities to step up security for the event and
shorten its route.
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