President Pranab to visit Kashmir; Geelani calls shutdown
By IANS - SRINAGAR
25th September 2012 11:13 PM
President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir from Wednesday to attend the convocation of Kashmir University amid a boycott call by the students' union and a shutdown by a hardline Hurriyat leader.
This will be President Mukherjee's maiden visit to Kashmir since he took over as head of state in July.
The president will attend a banquet hosted by Governor N.N. Vohra on Wednesday.
On Thursday, he will attend the 18th annual convocation of University of Kashmir, review the Dal Lake Conservation Project and interact with a group of intellectuals, a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi said.
Sharp shooters have been posted around the Kashmir University campus ahead of the president's visit to deliver the 18th convocation address. Authorities in Srinagar Tuesday asked all the resident scholars to vacate the various hostels as a security measure.
Senior officials of security both from the state and central government held meetings with the University authorities at the Hazratbal campus Tuesday in view of the VVIP visit.
Two days ahead of the convocation, multi-ladder emergency vehicles of the fire services department, posse of specially trained commandos and dozens of police and paramilitary troopers were posted inside the University campus where academic routine continued unhindered despite the massive security arrangements.
Meanwhile, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has called for a complete protest shutdown on Thursday to coincide with President Mukherjee's visit to the Valley.
The University's students' union has also announced a boycott of the convocation besides asking students to wear black badges and hoist black flags to protest the visit.
Interestingly, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, who had earlier registered himself with the University authorities to receive a gold medal for his Ph.D thesis in Islamic studies during the convocation has now said he would not be attending Thursday's function.
Mirwaiz had attracted a lot of flak from the separatist quarters for his decision to register for the gold medal which would be awarded to him by the country's president.
President Mukherjee returns to New Delhi on Sep 28.
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