Highlights

  • Black balloons released near PM's chopper in Vijaywada
  • According to reports, Congress workers released the balloons
  • PM's chopper took off from Vijayawada

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WATCH: black balloons released near PM's chopper in Vijaywada

Some reports indicate that the protesters were Congress workers. 

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 4 Congress workers were arrested. It added that probe was on and a few more were yet to be arrested.

The 4 arrested Congress workers will be produced before the court, police said.

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.

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.

The SPG apparently asked the state police what if they were drones and not just balloons.

Krishna district Superintendent of Police P Joshua told PTI that there was no security breach at the airport. "Two Congress workers released the balloons from a building under construction at Surampalli village, 4.5 km away from the airport. By the time they released the balloons, PM Modi's chopper had left the airport,” Joshua added.

He, however, said three Congress workers, including the women’s wing leader Sunkara Padmasri, were taken into custody as they tried to enter the airport carrying black balloons. The police burst the balloons, the SP said.

A case under various sections of IPC was registered against them. Also, one of the two persons who released the black balloons at Surampalli was also taken into custody while hunt was on for the other, Joshua said.

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