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Thousands throng the stands at Rajpath

Despite the heightened threat perception this time,thousands of people came to Rajpath to applaud India’s military might on the occasion of the 60th Republic Day on Monday.

Written by Chinki Sinha | New Delhi | January 27, 2009 11:57:06 pm

Despite the heightened threat perception this time,thousands of people came to Rajpath to applaud India’s military might on the occasion of the 60th Republic Day on Monday.

A blanket of security was thrown over the city,with around 20,000 personnel deployed on the parade route and elsewhere.

In the morning,cars were being checked every 2-3 kilometers,besides the many layered security checks at Rajpath.

“It took us 45 minutes to get though the security but it is okay. Such measures are required,” S K Pandey,a first time spectator to the parade,said. “I am glad I came. This is fantastic.”

President Pratibha Patil presented the highest peacetime gallantry award to half a dozen officers killed fighting the terrorists in Mumbai last year.

The spectators applauded the family members of the officers when they walked up to the President to receive the awards.

Maya Sharma,the widow of slain Special Cell Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma,who died in the Batla House encounter,received a huge applause when she was presented the award.

For spectators like Meena,the display of strength of the Indian armed forces was a symbol of resilience after the Mumbai terror attacks.

A Delhi resident,he sat with his seven-year-old son Priyanshu,who clapped and jumped when the jets came flying. “I wanted to show him India’s strength,” Meena said. “If this doesn’t happen,then we lose the link. We need this to believe; to remember the sacrifice.”

For Ramesh Kumar,an armyman who came all the way from Bihar to see the parade,the experience was ‘awe-inspiring’.

Kumar,who was present with wife Manju Kumari,said: “So far,the family watched the parade on television,but seeing it from such close quarters gave us an adrenaline rush.”

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