Armed with black flags, JMM workers protest at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Aug. 22: Union minister of mines and steel Narendra Singh Tomar’s visit to the state capital was cancelled late tonight amid protests by a group of sloganeering JMM workers near the Birsa Munda Airport.
Tomar, who has a few official functions in Jamshedpur, will now come to Ranchi only tomorrow morning.
The Union minister, who also looks after labour and employment, was initially supposed to arrive at Ranchi airport around 10.30pm, by which time a group of JMM protesters, smarting under yesterday’s booing controversy during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s function, had gathered with black flags, shouting “go-back” slogans.
ATC sources said that the Union minister, who was scheduled to arrive by an unscheduled flight of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) around 10.30pm, had delayed his visit by 30 minutes.
Later, the ATC received a message about the cancellation of his visit today.
Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey confirmed to The Telegraph that the Union minister’s flight had been rescheduled to tomorrow morning.
Sources maintained that Tomar was scheduled to inaugurate an ESI hospital in Jamshedpur tomorrow, besides visiting Tata Steel works.
The JMM workers started gathering around the airport from 7 pm onwards after news spread that the Union minister may be reaching the capital by 9pm.
Around 9pm, a group of around 20 JMM workers, led by the party’s Mahanagar president Antu Tirkey, waved black flags and shouted belligerent slogans like “kendriya mantri wapas jao (Go back Union minister)”, “Pradhan mantri maafii mange (PM must apologise)” and “Jharkhandiyon ka apman bandh karo (stop humiliating Jharkhandis).
The party has vowed to boycott all visits to the state by Union ministers unless the Prime Minister apologised for the fiasco during yesterday’s function at Prabhat Tara Ground at Dhurwa in Ranchi where allegedly BJP supporters disrupted chief minister Hemant Soren’s 10-minute speech.
Hemant had made his address just before Modi’s.