Amid militant and separatist shutdown call, President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Kashmir on Wednesday on a three-day visit, with multi-tier security rings being put in place to thwart any subversive attempt.
At around 5pm, President Pranab Mukherjee arrived at Srinagar airport on his maiden visit after assuming the office of president. Governor NN Vohra, chief minister Omar Abdullah and union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad received Mukherjee.
Later, the president flew in an army helicopter to the Nehru helipad, from where he drove straight to Raj Bhavan in Srinagar's Cheshma Shahi area.
In the evening, the governor will be hosting a banquet for Mukherjee at Raj Bhavan, which will feature a special concert of Kashmiri classical music.
He is scheduled to have separate meetings with the governor and the chief minister. The president will also take stock of Dal conservation programme.
On Thursday, the president will preside over the 18th convocation function at Kashmir University, where he will distribute awards and certificates. The varsity has been turned into a garrison as students in hostels have been asked vacate till function is over.
The intelligence sleuths have been asked to do background checks on all participating in the convocation.
In Srinagar, stringent security measures have been put in place in the wake of hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani calling for a shutdown in protest of Mukherjee’s visit.
”As the president of India, he is accountable to people here to explain about unmarked graves and enforced disappearances carried out by security forces,” said Geelani.
United Jehad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin, who also heads Hizbul Mujahideen, has also asked people to observe shutdown on Thursday.
Independent MLA Abdul Rasheed MLA has also threatened to hold a sit-in protest on Thursday to draw attention towards the delay in granting clemency to the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and release of Kashmiris languished in different jails.