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Youth Volunteers Boycott Prayer Meet at Gandhi Smriti
Several youths today protested outside Gandhi Smriti here ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit, alleging that some of their Kashmiri colleagues were denied permission to attend the prayer session.

The incident took place at Gandhi Smriti when a group of youth volunteers came to the location, 90 minutes before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was to attend a function there. Three volunteers fell unconscious in the melee.

"We were protesting against the denial of permission of three female volunteers from Jammu and Kashmir by the security personnel to participate in the prayers' meeting at Gandhi Smriti on the Gandhi Jayanti occasion," said Dibya Jyoti Saikia, a volunteer of youth leadership development programme organised at the Gandhi Darshan Samiti.

Volunteers protested when some of their colleagues were not allowed to enter the building. Union Minister Kumar Selja later came there and tried to persuade the volunteers to end their protest.

She even made the security personnel who prevented the volunteers to apologise to them.

Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), K C Dwivedi said the incident took place at around 3:30 PM well before the Prime Minister's arrival at the spot. He refused to divulge further details.

Taj Hassan, Joint Commissioner of Police (PM Security) could not be contacted for comments.

Police had tightened the security as the Prime Minister was attending the prayer meeting at the Gandhi Smriti.

There are about 300 youth volunteers from Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir who had participated in the seven-day camp at the Smriti.

"We are supposed to participate in the prayer meeting here and we have valid passes for the function. Despite having valid passes security men told them that since they are from Jammu and Kashmir they have to prove their identity.

"These girls were shocked hearing this and fainted. They are being now taken to the AIIMS for treatment. Since they were denied permission, we all have decided to boycott the prayer meeting which would be attended by the Prime Minister," Saikia claimed.

It is strange that the camp was organised for national integration while the action of security men are very much against national integration, he remarked.
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