Tight security in Chennai ahead of PM’s visit (Lead)January 7th, 2009 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Jan 7 (IANS) Security was tightened for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here Wednesday amid reports of a threat to top leaders attending the annual diaspora meet organised by the government. Police detained a suspect, Abdul Rahim, 37, a cadre of the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK), in connection with the threats. He was being questioned at an undisclosed location, a police official said.
“Rahim was detained in the early afternoon. After several hours of questioning in one of the central districts (of Tamil Nadu), the indication one gets is that he is harmless. While the interrogation, however, is continuing we are also looking for other leads,” the official said.
Tamil Nadu’s director general of police K.P. Jain said that all security measures were in place and there were absolutely no reason for any fear.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was expected to be here Wednesday evening by special aircraft and was expected to leave for Kozhikode Thursday.
“The situation is completely under control and there are no causes for fear. We are taking no chances whatsoever, and treating each threat perception on its individual merits and assessing it,” Jain told IANS.
The threat sent from Karaikal, a southern enclave of the Puducherry, 300 km south of here, was received by a private airline’s office in the city that is to host many foreign dignitaries as well, police sources said.
Delegates from over 40 countries are scheduled to participate in the event. The prime minister will deliver the inaugural address Thursday. President Pratibha Patil will give the valedictory address Friday.
For the event, organised by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of Tamil Nadu and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), security forces have turned the Chennai Trade Centre into a fortress.
Over 5,000 police personnel have been deployed in the city along with commandos from the National Security Guard and local police personnel.