New Delhi: As US President George Bush comes calling, the UPA Government is going on an overdrive to make him feel welcome. However, it’s not just political bonhomie in store for the US president.
There have been widespread protests across the country against the much-hyped Bush visit.
From Bhopal, where the 1984 gas leak victims have taken to streets and are shouting slogans, to Hyderabad where anti-Bush campaigners have found a unique way of expressing themselves, the protests have been widespread..
In New Delhi, thousands took out a massive protest rally, waved black and white flags and chanted slogans like "Death to Bush!", "Bush, Bush, go home" and "Death to America, death to Bush".
According to the Delhi Police, nearly one lakh people, mostly Muslims gathered in Delhi’s Ramlila ground for the protest march.
"Whether Hindu or Muslim, the people of India have gathered here to show our anger. We have only one message – killer Bush go home," expelled Samajwadi Party MP, Raj Babbar, said.
Bush arrives in India on Wednesday for a three-day visit focused on strengthening the emerging strategic partnership between India and the United States.
Islamic clerics and the Left parties have planned more such rallies during the three-day visit.
The Left parties are also planning to protest in front of Parliament on Thursday.
On Tuesday, nearly 1,000 people demonstrated in Mumbai, waving placards reading "Devil Bush Go Back," with caricatures of Bush as a cross between Superman and Satan.
Some mosques in Hyderabad have already unfurled banners protesting his arrival. Bush would visit the city for four hours on Friday.
Members of the Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) burned effigies of Bush in the city.
"Up to 50,000 people will take part in the march, and we have the police permission to express our feelings," said Pushpender Grewal, secretary of the Communist Party of India.
Delhi turns fortress
Unprecedented security measures are in place in the national capital, particularly in Chanakyapuri and Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone areas where Bush is expected to visit.
Additional police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in and around the places Bush and his entourage would be visiting during their stay in the capital, sources said.