Stunning daredevil acts on motorbikes and horseback, marching contingents of police and Armed forces, cultural performances and a train of tableau were the highlights at the parade as Gujarat celebrated India’s 67th Republic Day in Prabhas Patan, near the iconic Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district on Tuesday.
Governor Om Prakash Kohli unfurled the tricolour on Sadbhavna ground in Prabhas Patan, near Veraval and iconic Somnath Temple in Gir, at 9 AM. He was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel when the National Flag was hoisted. After saluting the flag, the governor and the CM rode in an open jeep and inspected the parade even as a helicopter showered rose petals from the air.
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Marking the beginning of a new tradition, a woman contingent of Rajasthan state police also participated in the Republic Day parade and they were accorded the honour to lead the trail of platoons of police force. The contingent from the neighboring state was participating in parade in Gujarat following the call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for better cooperation and contacts among police forces of various states, the announcer at the function said.
A platoon of Chetak Commandos of Gujarat police won applause for their disciplined movement and swagger. However, women platoons of Gujarat police won the loudest cheers from the crowd and dignitaries. Out of 30 platoons that participated in the parade, 10 were all-women and commanded by women. A platoon of Gujarat Forest Force and trainees of Raksha Shakti University, Ahmedabad also took part in the parade.
The march past was followed by a train of 35 tableau. They featured the proposed Statue of Unity being constructed downstream Narmada dam as a tribute to Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. There were floats on Dr BR Ambedkar and on the industrial and agricultural achievements of the state. Simultaneous cultural performances by several groups, featuring among others, the Dhamal dance by Sidi tribe and traditional Garba of Gujarat also won hearts of the spectators. Students also performed Surya Namaskar and Yoga during the parade.
However, personnel of Gujarat police stole the show by showcasing their thrilling and high-risk motorbike stunts. Besides individual stunts, the policemen also demonstrated breathtaking balancing acts on their bikes in teams. Women personnel were applauded the loudest by the crowd, the CM and the governor when they rode their bikes dressed as Jhansi Ki Rani and jumped through a ring of fire.
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The mounted unit of Gujarat police also showed off equestrian skills by demonstrating barrier jumping and flag racing. The dog squad of the police also put their skills on the show.
But two minor accidents distracted the performers and the public at the parade. A policeman performing stunts on his motorbike lost balance and the bike skidded into the spectators gallery, injuring three. The injured were rushed hospital immediately. Another mishap followed when a stunt woman fell off the back of her horse. While she was rushed to hospital, her shocked horse barged into the crowd before bolting off the ground.
The Chetal Commando platoon were adjusted the best contingent while Statue of Unity float presented by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), a state government corporation which is executing the Narmad project and the statute, was declared the best tableau. The woman contingent of Rajathan police were also honoured.
At the end of march past and cultural performances, Anandiben again rode the open jeep and did a lap around the ground to acknowledge the applause. The ceremony came to an end at around 11:30 AM with the governor felicitating Freedom Fighters who were invited at the function.