Army aid sought for Pranab visit

President to attend Khongjom Day programme in Manipur

By Khelen Thokchom in Imphal
  • Published 23.04.16
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Pranab Mukherjee

Imphal, April 22: The Okram Ibobi Singh government has sought help from army and central paramilitary forces for more security cover during President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Manipur on Khongjom Day tomorrow.

The President will arrive here tomorrow and will proceed to Khongjom - the venue of the programme - in Thoubal district by chopper and address the gathering there.

Elaborate security measures have been taken in view of a militant boycott of the President's visit. The Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of six militant groups of Manipur, had announced the boycott of the President's visit.

The President will inaugurate a war monument at Khongjom war memorial complex and open a tourist centre there.

Before the President's arrival at the venue, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, ministers, MLAs, government officials and the people will pay floral tribute# before the statue of Manipuri hero Paona Brajabashi at Khongjom and will offer tarpon (floral tribute) at the Khongjom river. A 21-gun salute will also be performed for Brajabashi.

The Manipuris fought the last battle against the advancing British troops at Khongjom and lost the battle, along with their freedom, in 1891. The state government observes April 23 each year as Khongjom Day to pay homage to the Manipuri heroes of the Anglo-Manipuri war.

The chief minister, unlike previous occasions, will not make any speech in the morning. He will address the gathering after the President arrives at the venue in the afternoon.

Governor S. Shanmuganathan, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, ministers, MLAs and senior army officials will receive the President at Imphal airport.

A new helipad has been constructed at Khongjom near the venue of the programme in view of the President's visit. Army helicopters landed at the helipad yesterday and today as# part of trial runs.

"We have taken elaborate security measures to ensure no unwanted incidents take# place near the venue of the programme and other parts of the state. Army and CRPF personnel will be deployed in and around the venue of the programme," a senior government official said.

Ibobi Singh is reviewing the security arrangements with senior police officials daily. Thoubal superintendent of police, K. Radheshyam, and deputy commissioner, T. Ranjit Singh, have been visiting the venue regularly to ensure that security measures are in place.

The official said the army and CRPF personnel would assist the state police in providing security cover for the President's visit.

Mukherjee is the second President to visit Khongjom battlefield. V.V. Giri had visited Khongjom and had inaugurated the war monument at Khebaching, a small hillock at Khongjom, on October 21, 1972.

Khongjom War Memorial Trust, a non-government organisation, is planning to erect a giant-sized sword at Khebaching in the coming years.