Indian Archbishop deeply anguished over Tibet crackdown

Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi has expressed his "deep" anguish over the Tibet uprising and the crackdown on the predominantly Buddhist people.

Whilst he acknowledged communist China's economic development and progress on the road to democracy in recent years, the Archbishop urged the Chinese Government to exercise restraint in dealing with the uprising.

The Archbishop pleaded with the Chinese and Tibetan leaders to halt the suffering of the people by immediately restoring peace to the region.

"No matter how grave a problem is, it is always possible to find a peaceful solution to it through dialogue," UCA news quoted him saying.

The Archbishop further noted how the church has been instrumental in freeing the oppressed and defending the rights of minorities, adding it is appropriate to raise a voice for the Tibetans who have experienced alienation and torture.

The "great event" of the Beijing Olympics is being marred by a controversy that "could easily be avoided through dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Tibetan Government in exile", UCA news quoted him saying.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, Father Babu Joseph, says the church has decided to follow the Indian Government's cautious approach to the upheaval.

Such issues, the Divine Word priest told UCA News, should be handled with "great caution".

According to Fr Joseph, the church in India treats the Tibetan issue as a problem between China and Tibet that should be sorted out bilaterally.

A four-member Chinese team has arrived in Delhi to discuss the security arrangements for the Olympic torch relay on April 17.

The Indian Government has already ensured that no hindrance will be tolerated and has requested Tibetans to refrain from any demonstration.