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Japanese heave sigh of relief with Kejriwal protest off

Posted on Jan 22 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Jan 22 : As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called off his protest that was threatening to disrupt the Republic Day Parade on Jan 26, the Japanese embassy here heaved a sigh of relief with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is the chief guest at the parade, scheduled to come here in three days' time.

On Tuesday tension was at its peak around Rail Bhavan where Kejriwal and his cabinet ministers and some hundreds of supporters were holding a protest. The Rail Bhavan is right next to Rajpath where the Republic Day parade passes. The entire area is sanitized and remains out of bounds for the public for several days prior to the event as rehearsals are held daily.

Although officially the Japanese embassy did not say anything, as they did not want to be seen as interfering in India's internal affairs, privately they heaved a huge sigh of relief because of the security challenges that the protests were going to pose for the visiting dignitary and his large entourage.

"We are relieved," was all that a Japanese official would say, when contacted.

The Japanese premier will be accompanied by a large security contingent and an advance party of security officials has already arrived in the Indian capital.

Kejriwal on Tuesday evening agreed to call off his protest after Lt Governor Najeeb Jung agreed partially to his demands.

The security forces would from Friday, 72 hours before the parade begins, take over the area till Jan 29 when the Beating Retreat function is held. During this time, access is restricted.

Military tanks and tableaux have lined up in preparation of the parade and rehearsals by the different contingents are held daily.

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