Empty Streets Greet First Citizen Of The Country, Video Conferencing With Ukhrul DC Scheduled Today, Patil Makes Maiden Landing At Tulihal Amid Boycott

A perfectly executed guard of honour receives the President at Tulihal airport. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Mar 10: Amid the boycott and 40 hours general strike called by the banned Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF), President Pratibha Devisingh Patil landed at Imphal on her two-day visit today afternoon.

With the State Government not leaving anything to chance, the President landed at Imphal airport in a special Indian Air Force aircraft around 2 pm, a time when the boycott call as well as the general strike was its most potent moment.

Other than the security cavalcades and political leaders, besides Governor Gurbachan Jagat, empty streets greeted the President on her maiden visit to the State.

A number of VVIPs including Governor Gurbachan Jagat, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Speaker I Hemochandra Singh, Ministers and legislators as well as senior civil and military officers turned up in hordes to receive the first citizen of the country.

The President, who is the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces, was accorded a splendid guard of honor by an all woman police contingent commanded by a young IPS officer at the premises of Imphal airport.

The President then moved to Raj Bhawan where she held talks with the Governor and Chief Minister. She also witnessed a colorful cultural show there.

The President is scheduled to interact with members of some Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Chairpersons of the State Social Welfare Board and Manipur Women’s Development Corporation at Raj Bhawan, official sources said.

Next on the itinerary is Mantripukhri where she will lay the foundation stone of an Information Technology Park and launch the State wide area network project.

Before wrapping up her two-day visit, she will attend a video-conferencing session with the Deputy Commissioner of Ukhrul; the sources said adding that she will also address the public at Mantripukhri.

Meanwhile normal activities at the valley areas came to a grinding halt owing to the MPLF’s 40-hour general strike which came into force from midnight of March 9.

MPLF is the umbrella organizations of three prominent underground outfits operating in Manipur.

Other than emergency and ceremonial services, no vehicles plied on the roads and business establishments at the capital were closed. It, however, did not affect regular flights.

The MPLF in an earlier statement issued to the press had maintained that the scheduled visit of the President of India “is aimed at deceiving the international community that Manipur is a part of India,” and also to dupe Manipuri people that New Delhi has been generously funding and taking up various developmental programs in Manipur.

The umbrella organization had also alleged that New Delhi has given a free hand to its armed personnel to kill and indulge in violence against the people by imposing the ‘draconian’ Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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