May 28, 2024

Report Wire

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Shield for Modi route from airport

2 min read

Barricades will be set up almost from the edge of the runway along the road Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take on his way to the city from the airport on Saturday evening, sources said.

If Modi’s arrival is advanced or there are protests along his route, a chopper on standby could be used to fly him out of the airport.

The sources said on Thursday the authorities wanted to sanitise the Prime Minister’s route in view of threats of protests and blockades by various organisations.

Several groups have announced on social media their plans to block the Prime Minister’s path on the airport premises to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens.

Sources said the intelligence branch had submitted a report to the state government and the airport authorities about the social media posts. At least three organisations are apparently planning large-scale gatherings at the airport.

On Thursday, a team of officials of the airport, police and the state government surveyed the route at the airport through which Modi is scheduled to leave after arriving in a special aircraft.

The sources spoke about plans to set up barricades on either side of the road through which VIPs travel out of the airport. “The barricades will start from almost the runway edge. Such sanitisation was never done before,” a source at the airport said.

Modi is scheduled to leave the airport through gate No. 4, which is beside the old international terminal and away from the integrated terminal now in use. “Barricades, meant to ensure free movement of VIPs, are usually set up from VIP Road. But this time, because of threats of protests and blockades, these will be erected from gate No. 4, which is almost at the edge of the runway,” a state government official said.

“There were no barricades between gate No. 4 and VIP Road during the then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s visit in May 2012 or the recent visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” a police officer said.

VIPs, after getting off aircraft, travel to the ceremonial lounge adjacent to the taxiway by car, and from there they are escorted out of the airport through gate No. 4.

Modi is scheduled to arrive at 5pm on Saturday on a two-day visit, during which he will be travelling to Belur Math and other parts of the city. He is scheduled to leave Calcutta around 1pm on Sunday.

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