Updated: July 4, 2022 9:04:07 pm
At least two Congress workers were arrested for releasing black balloons near the Vijayawada international airport Monday morning when the chopper carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi took off, in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.
The PM had flown down from Hyderabad to Vijayawada airport at Gannavaram, from where he and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, and Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan flew in two choppers to Bhimavaram where Modi unveiled the statue of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju.
Congress and Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti workers had gathered near the airport in the morning to protest against the Centre not granting Special Category Status to the state, but were quickly detained and removed by the police.
Two Congress workers — one of them identified as local leader Rajiv Ratan — released four sets of black balloons from the top of an underconstruction building as the two choppers approached. Although, the balloons were released at a distance, by the time the choppers flew by, the balloons had reached considerable height and were visible alongside the choppers. While there was tight security in and around the airport for the PM, the building from where the balloons were released was far away. The duo timed the release of the balloons just as the two choppers took off and were gaining altitude.
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AP DGP KV Rajendranath Reddy told the indianexpress.com that two persons were arrested from the site while they were looking for a third person.
“Earlier in the morning, we had taken into preventive custody Mahila Congress chief Sunkarna Padmasri and several Congress workers from near the airport as they wanted to release the balloons. We also detained some Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti activists as they also wanted to protest. Representatives of the two parties said they wanted to protest over the Centre not giving special category status to Andhra Pradesh,’’ the DGP said, adding that investigation is being conducted into the incident.
Krishna district police issued a statement that there was no breach in security of the PM at the airport.
As a precautionary measure, the Krishna district police had imposed Section 30 of the Police Act and Section 144 of the CrPC, the police said.
Before the PM’s arrival, at around 8:30 am, three people — Congress activists Sunkarna Padmasri, Parvathi and Kishore — were seen walking towards the airport with black balloons. The police identified them and apprehended the three and booked them under Sections 353, 341, 188, 145 of the IPC. The balloons were also burst by the police.
Five minutes after PM Modi took off from Gannavaram airport, at a place named Soorampalli, 4.5 kilometre away from the airport, two Congress members namely Rajeev Ratan and Ravi Prakash along with another person climbed an underconstruction building and released the balloons. By the time they released the balloons, PM Modi’s chopper had left the airport, the police claimed.
As of now, two have been taken into custody while Ratan is said to be absconding, the statement said.
After the unveiling ceremony, the PM, CM and governor later returned to the Vijayawada airport without any other incident and the PM left for Gandhinagar in his special plane.
During the send-off, the CM handed over a letter to the PM appealing to accord Special Category status to the state, and release pending arrears.
The CM requested to release the resource gap grant of Rs 34,125.5 crore and asked to clear the due of Rs 6,627.28 crore which was put by Telangana discoms to AP Genco. Also, he asked the prime minister to consider the revised estimate of the Polavaram Project and give approval for Rs 55,548.87 crore.
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