Prez cuts indonesian visit by 2 days

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Bali, Indonesia, Nov 29 (UNI) Perturbed by the terrorist strike in Mumbai, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has decided to cut short her visit to Indonesia by two days and go to Mumbai to get first-hand information about the situation there.

The President who was to leave for Jakarta tomorrow morning, however would finish all her official engagements which included a meeting with President Sushilo Ausilo Yudhoyono, delegation level talks and meeting with Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly Hidayat Nur Wahid, Chairman of the Regional Representatives Council, Ginandjar Kartasasmita and Speaker of the House of Representatives Agung Laksono on December 1 before leaving for Mumbai in the afternoon at around 1330 local time (about 1130 IST).

Secretary to the President, Christy Fernandez said the President would go straight from the Mumbai International airport to the JJ Hospital to see the injured and later go to the residences of the slain police personnel, Hemant Karkare, chief of the Anti-Terrorist Task Cell, and Mr Vijay Salaskar to pay her condolences to the bereaved families.

After having an overnight stay in the Raj Bhawan in Mumbai, she would have meetings with Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir and Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to apprise herself of the situation and to get first hand information from them about the incidents.

"It is her conscious decision to return to the country, Mr Fernandez said. She had already forwarded her sentiments to the Indonesian President to cancel banquets in her honour and other entertainment engagements scheduled in Bali and Jakarta during her five-day state visit to Indonesia.

The President was disturbed ever since the terrorist strikes in Mumbai, Maharashtra which is also her home state. She was officially scheduled to return to New Delhi on December 3. Now she will reach Delhi in the afternoon of December 2.

Disturbed by the incidents the President earlier held pujas and prayers at Taman Ayun Temple, at Bali in the morning, for peace and prosperity and happiness to the mankind. She had also prayed to God to bestow good sense and wisdom to those who had taken up the path of destruction.

Earlier, the President had converted her "goodwill" mission into the diplomatic exercise, the President in Vietnam, where she had a four-day state visit from November 24 to November 28, and in Indonesia to garner support from these nations to jointly fight the menace of terrorism. She also untilized the visit to appeal to the International community to come together to curb terrorism and all kinds of violence to establish peace all over the world.

Ever since the Mumbai incidents had taken place, the President was reportedly having sleepless night and contacted several times Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and the secretary of Maharashtra to apprise herself of the situation. She spoke to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister today.

Sources said the President, in fact, wanted to return to the country, the moment she learnt about the Mumbai incident. She was however, advised by the Prime Minister against it, saying that this might sent a wrong message to the perpetrators of violence.

In Bali, she had a meeting with the Indonesian Hindu Prominent Citizens, cultural personalities and intellectuals who brief her about their affinity to India. The President was very impressed by them for maintaining the traditions and cultural heritage of India.

Expressing their gratitude to the President, the Indonesian Hindus said her visit, the first by the highest dignitary from India, had provided them a boost to their association with India.

Editors here pick up from earlier series.

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