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Rajapaksa visits Tirumala amid protests

Rajapaksa visits Tirumala amid protests
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Highlights

Sri Lankan President Mahenda Rajapaksa arrived by a special aircraft at Renigunta airport on Tuesday on a two-day visit to Tirumala. At the airport, Chittoor district officials, including Collector Sidharth Jain, Tirupati Urban SP accorded him a warm welcome.

Tirupati: Sri Lankan President Mahenda Rajapaksa arrived by a special aircraft at Renigunta airport on Tuesday on a two-day visit to Tirumala. At the airport, Chittoor district officials, including Collector Sidharth Jain, Tirupati Urban SP accorded him a warm welcome.

Immediately after arrival, the Sri Lanakan President left by a helicopter from the airport to the helipad at SV University Tarakarama Stadium from where he drove to Tirumala. The remaining members of his 40-member entourage were taken in special vehicles from the airport to Tirumala, by road.

District Collector Sidharth Jain receiving  Sri Lankan President Mahenda Rajapaksa  at Renigunta airport.

At the helipad, on behalf of the State government Forest Minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy welcomed Rajapaksa and accompanied him to Tirumala. The police made tight security arrangements at the airport, the helipad and also all along the route through which the Sri Lankan President and his entourage travelled to Tirumala.

Tamil activists detained

Tirupati police on Tuesday detained as many as 70 persons as a precautionary measure to ensure smooth passage of Sri Lanakan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his entourage from Renigunta airport to Tirumala. The police detained them from various places. A group of youth in the age group of 30-35 were taken into custody at the bus station.

They were suspected to be activists of various outfits based in Tamil Nadu, including political parties like Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazahagam, Viduthal Siruthaigal and believed to have come here to stage a protest against the Sri Lankan President during his visit to Tirumala. The arrested were shifted to undisclosed location. Top officials, however, refused to give any information on the arrest of alleged Tamil activists.

A Tamil activists  SK  Kumar  staging a protest at a police station in Renigunta on being arrested

Several persons were also taken into preventive custody from places on Chittoor-Tamil Nadu border. Viduthalai Siruthaii Kachi leader Kumar was also taken into custody in Renigunta. Kumar hailing from Tiruvallur, was believed to have managed to sneak in and reached Renigunta.

Tension prevails in Nellore

Tension prevailed at Pannamgadu in Tada mandal of Nellore district on Tuesday as activists of the Tamil Nadu TVK Party left for Tirumala to protest in connection with the visit to the temple town by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The police tried to stop them, leading to arguments between the two sides. The activists staged a ‘rasta roko’ demonstration to protest the police action.

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