Blanket security cover for visits of PM, Sonia

Imphal: A security blanket was thrown over Imphal ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Manmohon Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today, even as normal life was hit due to a general strike called by civil organisations and insurgents.

Official sources said the police, para-military forces, India Reserve personnel and other forces were deployed in large numbers at the Palace compound, Khuman Lampak, Chingmeirong and Kangl where the VVIPs would attend functions.

Imphal and greater Imphal areas were being patrolled by paramilitary forces and the police with the few people on the streets being frisked, the sources said.

The tight security measures were taken in view of the bomb blast a few metres away from the City Convention Centre on November 30 in which one person was killed and five others were injured, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

At the Palace compound, Singh and Gandhi would inaugurate the City Convention Centre, a Manipur Film Development Corporation hall and auditorium and the Inter State Bus Terminus at Khuman Lampak area, they said.

Singh and Gandhi would also inaugurate the new Manipur Legislative and high court buildings at Chingmeirong area, which are part of the capital project.

The Prime Minister and UPA chairperson will address a public meeting at Kangla in the afternoon. Union Human Resource Minister Kabil Sibal and Union Law minister Salman Khurshid would accompany the VVIPs, the sources said.

Normal life was affected and all markets, shops and business establishments remained closed due to the general strike, official reports said.

Civil organisations, United Committee Manipur (UCM) and All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) have jointly called the general strike, alleging that central leaders had utterly neglected the people during the recent 100-day economic blockade on two national highways by some groups of Nagas and Kukis.