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‘Security breach’: Congress worker arrested for releasing black balloons in PM Modi’s flight path

Amaravati, July 4

In what the Special Protection Group (SPG) saw as a major breach of security, black balloons were released into the flight path of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mi-17 helicopter as he took off from the Vijayawada International Airport (VIA) for Bhimavaram on Monday.

State police, however, denied there was any breach of security but said one Congress worker has been apprehended in this connection, while three other party workers were arrested for trying to enter the airport with black balloons.

Incidentally, a strong police force of 800 personnel was deployed at the airport for the Prime Minister’s security. The Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee gave a call to organise protests during the PM’s visit to the state on Monday, to unveil the statue of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju, in protest against the “broken promises”, including grant of special category status to AP.

After landing of his special aircraft at Gannavaram airport, the Prime Minister left for Bhimavaram in West Godavari district by a helicopter to launch 125th birth anniversary celebrations of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju.

Some Congress workers climbed a building under construction in a village far away from the VIA at Gannavaram and released black balloons, ostensibly filled with hydrogen.

A video clip released by the Congress showed the balloons being released as the Mi-17s took off from Gannavaram and entered the flight path over the village. The balloons were floating high in the air as the two choppers flew past but it could not be established whether they were anywhere close.

The Prime Minister’s trip ended without incident, much to the relief of everyone but the SPG that is in charge of his security is said to have taken a serious view of it and sought an explanation from the state.

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