The 65th Republic Day was marked by patriotic fervour and vibrant parades across the country on Sunday. But celebrations were marred in Manipur, where suspected militants triggered four bomb explosions, and on the LoC, where Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire. Most states expressed a resolve to strengthen their fight against terror.
Jammu & Kashmir
Shelling, strike and an appeal
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Governor N N Vohra hoisted the tricolour at Maulana Azad Stadium, saying security forces should not lower their guard till a peaceful environment emerges in J&K. He also asked Pakistan to maintain calm along the border.
Incidentally, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir Sunday morning, resorting to unprovoked firing for three hours.
“At 6:15 am, there was unprovoked firing from Pakistani side. They fired about three rocket-propelled grenades and small arms at the Kaman post (in Uri sector) on the Indian side,” GoC of 19 Infantry Division Major General Anil Chauhan said. No casualties were reported.
In Srinagar, shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic stayed off the roads in most parts of the Valley in the wake of a strike called by hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatists.
Mumbai’s Marine march
For the first time in Mumbai, the parade was held at Marine Drive instead of the Shivaji Park ground. Thousands of people gathered to witness the event, attended by Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Sushmita Sen and Shreyas Talpade.
Around 25 tableaux put up by the state government departments highlighting their achievements in fields like education and health care were a part of the parade.
It showcased the military might of the Indian Army and other defence forces and also highlighted the prowess of CISF and Mumbai police.
Blasts, shooting amid boycott; 2 Assam Rifles officials wounded
Four powerful bomb explosions rocked the state despite strict security measures in view of a boycott call given by six major militant outfits.
Militants also attacked an Assam Rifles post injuring two personnel. A Major-rank officer and a rifleman were critically wounded in the attack on the post at Sajik Tampak in Chandel district near Myanmar border, while no one was injured in the blasts in different places in and around Imphal.
Two bombs exploded in the capital complex near the deputy commissioner’s office in Imphal when the march-past was on at 8.25 am.
Two other explosions were reported from Chingmeirong and Chingamakha on the outskirts of the city at 11 am.
Later in the day, militants first triggered an improvised explosive device near the post and in the ensuing shoot-out, the two personnel were injured. They were taken to the Military Hospital at Leimakhong, about 25 km from Imphal, official sources said.
Resolve to tackle Naxals
Governor Shekhar Dutt asserted that the state government would firmly deal with Naxals and other terror elements in the state.
“Steps are being taken to provide better resources and facilities to the security forces. Every possible effort is being made to boost their morale and instill confidence among those who are living in the Naxal-hit regions,” he said.
Maoists put up black flags
Celebrations were held amid tight security in view of a boycott call by the Maoists. Suspected Naxals put up black flags in some pockets of Chitrakonda and Kalimela areas in Malkangiri district.
Tight security arrangements had been made in Maoist-hit Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Gajapati and Nuapada districts .
No untoward incident was, however, reported from anywhere in the state.
‘Firm up security’
Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik assured that the government would take “firm steps” to strengthen security in the state and apprehend those responsible for the recent killings in Kokrajhar and Karbi Anglong.
“The unified command structure comprising civil and military authorities has resulted in as many as 13 extremist outfits laying down their arms and joining the mainstream. The government is making all-out efforts to persuade the other remaining outfits to come for negotiations,” Patnaik said.
Govt to act against officials ‘missing’ from ceremony
The state government warned officials found absent from flag hoisting ceremony of tough action. Tough action will be taken against officials who fail to give valid reasons for not turning up at the flag hoisting ceremony to mark the Republic Day, Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said after unfurling the tricolour at the secretariat. Officials must attend programmes held to mark such an occasion of national significance, he said.
Defying the separatists
People defied a bandh call given by a separatist outfit and joined the Republic Day celebrations in good numbers.
A moment in the sun for prisoners’ band of 13
It was a momentous day for 13 prisoners who became a part of a “prisoners band” which participated in the Republic Day parade at Shimla and marched to the tunes of Sare Jahan Se Accha at Ridge Maidan.
Led by Ram Krishan, a murder convict, the prisoners from Kanda Jail, Shimla, and central Jail, Nahan, held the the march-past before Governor Urmilla Singh, the chief guest at the function. ENS/PTI