Coconuts removed in India ahead of Obama visit

Coconut tree in India Falling coconuts are a regular hazard in India

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Officials in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) have taken extraordinary measures to protect US President Barack Obama ahead of his visit.

In their effort to provide maximum security in the run-up to his visit on Friday, they have removed coconuts which may fall on his head from trees.

All coconuts around the city's Gandhi museum have now been cut down, an official told the BBC.

Every year in India people are injured or even killed by falling coconuts.

'Why take a chance?'

Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his freedom struggle against the British, is among five places the US president is visiting apart from a school, college and hotels attacked by Islamic militants in 2008.

"We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building. Why take a chance?" Mani Bhavan's executive secretary, Meghshyam Ajgaonkar, told the BBC.

Mahatma Gandhi has been cited by the president as an inspiration to him - he has a portrait of the independence leader in his senate office.

President Obama once famously said that he would like to have had dinner with Mr Gandhi.

President Barack Obama No stone has been left unturned by the authorities to guarantee Mr Obama's safety

Heavy security arrangements and preparations are going on in the city which also celebrates the religious festival of lights, Diwali, during the president's visit.

Mani Bhavan is a two-storey building in south Mumbai, housing a museum, a research centre and a room where Mahatma Gandhi stayed. Today it is a tourist attraction.

Mr Ajgaonkar said the building was ready to receive the president and had been recently painted and renovated.

It will be closed on 5 and 6 November for security reasons.

Last week American security officers inspected Mani Bhavan and its surroundings along with other places the president is likely to visit.

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