The 71st Independence Day was celebrated across the country with chief ministers of each state unfurling the Tricolour amid stringent security arrangements. In the national capital, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, for the fourth time. In his speech, he said the nation should embrace the people of Kashmir as bullets and abuses will not help the problems in the Valley.
Here are the highlights:
5.15 pm: Celebrations also took place at Attari-Wagah border in Punjab where Indian and Pakistani border guards exchanged sweets and greetings.
4.15 pm: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, unfurled the tricolour in Khardung La pass in Ladakh. 50 women bikers had rode to the pass for the celebrations, to promote women empowerment. Calling women power strengthening, he said, “This is a proud moment for all. Tricolor was hoisted at highest motorable road.”
2.45 pm: Airports Authority of India also celebrated Independence Day.
2.30 pm: Independence Day celebrations were also held outside India. The Indian flag was unfurled at Embassy of India in Tokyo. Celebrations were also held at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan.
1.55 pm: In a bid to maintain law and order in J&K, mobile and portable internet services were suspended in many parts of the Valley, including Kulgam, Anantnag, Chadoora and Nagam towns. Meanwhile, normal life was disrupted as separatists called for a bandh, in protest of the Independence Day celebrations. Shops, petrol pumps and business establishments were closed, and public transport halted.
1.50 pm: Many foreign leaders have extended wishes to India on Independence Day. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said, “I would like to congratulate PM Narendra Modi and the great people of India on their Independence Day. Our friendship will always remain firm. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena tweeted, “Wishing our close friend and neighbour India a very happy Independence Day.” Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay too said, “Wishing my Indian friends a Happy Independence Day. May the friendship between India and Bhutan continue to grow from strength to strength.”
Earlier this morning, PM Modi said US President Donald Trump had wished the nation as well.
12.21 pm: J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti took part in I-Day celebrations in Srinagar. Earlier today, PM Modi, in his speech from the Red Fort, had said the problems of the state can be solved if the nation embraced the people in the Valley. Read more here.
Speaking to the people, Mehbooba says she has “full confidence” that the Supreme Court will dismiss the plea on Article 35A.
12.16 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on the occasion of Independence Day, aims to to make the state free of corruption and poverty by 2022. “We have resolved to make the state free of corruption and poverty by 2022,” Chouhan was quoted as saying by PTI. “The poor in Madhya Pradesh will have a house of his own by 2022,” he added.
12.01 pm: Manipur CM N Biren Singh celebrated Independence Day with the CRPF troops in the state. On Twitter, the CM said that as a tribute to Mother India and the spirit of Independence Day, we should commit ourselves to further peace.
12.00 pm: Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu unfurled the flag this morning.
11.39 am: The Indian Navy celebrates Independence Day at its headquarters in Visakhapatnam. Here are some glimpses from the celebrations.
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) August 15, 2017
11.30 am: ‘Na goli se, na gaali se…’ Here are PM Modi’s top quotes from the Red Fort. Click here.
11.22 am: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday, took to Twitter to say, “Happy #IndependenceDayIndia. I salute the heroes who made it possible for us to live in freedom & peace & soldiers protecting our freedom.”
Taking the Salute at the state level Independence Day parade at Gurdaspur. pic.twitter.com/F6q80VGbL8
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 15, 2017
11.18 am: In an address, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said: “The need today is that all Indians in one voice should fight separatism, terrorism and all such forces who divide and spread hatred in society, and unite to protect the basic principles of Indian-ness. I pray that this nation must always progress and we all feel proud being an independent Indian… My best wishes to you all that this 71th year will bring prosperity and happiness to all of you and will be in good health and will get immense opportunities for growth and progress.”
11.17 am: Former President Pranab Mukherjee wishes everyone a happy Independence Day.
— Pranab Mukherjee (@CitiznMukherjee) August 15, 2017
11.07 am: Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani hoisted the Tricolour earlier today. Here are pictures from our reporter.
— Aditi Raja (@aditijf) August 15, 2017
10.53 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath unfurled the Tricolour on Tuesday. In an address, he said, “We have to develop India. We have to popularise the country and make it one of the leading countries in the world. The path to development goes through Uttar Pradesh.” Read more here.
10.40 am: In an opinion column in The Indian Express today, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “India is 70; young among nations. But time is of the essence before it ages rapidly. There is a real danger that India will be “too late.” The question after Gorakhpur is: Is India at 70 too late, too late not for false glory, but to recover its own humanity?” Read his entire column here.
10.30 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurls the Tricolour in Kolkata. She also wished people a happy Independence Day on Twitter. Earlier this week, Mamata had opposed an order from the Centre, which asked all schools to organise events and create a “patriotic mood” to help realise PM Modi’s vision for ‘New India’. Taking to Twitter last night, Mamata had said all schools in the state will celebrating Independence Day “as per their choice” and “In their own special way.” Read more here.
10.06 am: Congress president Sonia Gandhi unfurls the national flag at the Congress’ headquarters in New Delhi, in the presence of Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
9.55 am: BJP president Amit Shah has unfurled the national flag at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Earlier this morning, he took to Twitter to wish the nation on the occasion of Independence Day.
9.52 am: Here’s a picture of PM Modi inspecting the Guard of Honour at the Red Fort. The contingent consists of one officer and 24 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Delhi Police. The Guard of Honour is positioned directly in front of the National Flag across the moat below the ramparts of the Red Fort.
9.48 am: Union Minister Arun Jaitley takes to Twitter to wish the nation on Independence Day.
आप सबको स्वतंत्रता दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं। जय हिंद। वंदे मातरम् l #IndependenceDay
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) August 15, 2017
Celebrating Independence Day at residence pic.twitter.com/JPO0MmsLdg
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) August 15, 2017
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has unfurled the flag at his residence in New Delhi. Similarly, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Tamil Nadu counterpart E K Palanisamy have also done so in Patna and Chennai respectively.
9.46 am: Following reports that he was initially disallowed from unfurling the national flag, RSS chief Mohan Bhagat has now done so at a school in Palakkad, Kerala, reports news agency ANI. Read more here.
Meanwhile, Baba Ramdev has also unfurled a Tricolour, measuring 100 feet, at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar.
9.36 am: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh greeted the nation this morning. He tweeted, “Heartiest greetings to everyone on India’s 71st Independendence Day. Celebrated the Independence Day with CAPF Jawans. They are the real heroes of our country. #BhararKeVeer.”
9.32 am: Did you watch PM Modi’s speech this morning? Tell us what you think about it in the poll below:
9.19 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hoists the Tricolour at his residence. Watch video:
— Shradha Chettri (@Shrads_chettri) August 15, 2017
9.06 am: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu unfurls the Tricolour in Tirupati. Similarly, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis have unfurled the national flag in Guwahati and Mumbai respectively.
8.58 am: Malala Yousafzai wishes India on Independence Day, saying we should join hands for education and peace.
8.35 am: PM Modi has concluded his speech at the Red Fort. Click here to read his full speech.
8.18 am: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, on the occasion of Independence Day, says, “Let us all #HugAKashmiri #IndependenceDayIndia.” His tweet is based on PM Modi’s speech, in which the latter said Kashmir will only make progress if the nation comes together to embrace the people of the state. PM Modi had added that the problems of the state can be solved by hugging Kashmiri people.
8.12 am: MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe tweets on I-Day; he says, “Let’s rededicate ourselves to create a #NewIndia while cherishing our dream of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat!”
8.05 am: The Indian Express has scrutinised PM Modi’s speeches since 2014, the first time he addressed the nation from the Red Fort. In the last three years, he has repeatedly used the words ‘sister’, ‘brother’ and ‘team’. Click here to see what else was found.
8.03 am: “Happy Independence Day India! Today, let us resolve to tirelessly strive to build New India of our collective aspirations!” Rajyavardhan Rathore, MoS for I&B, tweeted.
8.00 am: Union Minister Smriti Irani greets the nation.
स्वतंत्रता दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें।
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) August 15, 2017
7.46 am: PM Modi says this is is a special year, as it also marks the 75th anniversary of Quit India, the 100th anniversary of Champaran Satyagraha and the 125th anniversary of Ganesh Utsav. He adds that it’s also an important year, as of January 1, 2018, those born in this century will start turning 18. Read more here.
“They are Bhagya Vidhatas of our nation,” says PM Modi.
7.42 am: Speaking from the Red Fort, PM Modi says we have to take the country ahead with the determination of ‘New India’. “In our nation, there is no one big or small. Everybody is equal. Together we can bring a positive change in the nation,” he says.
7.32 am: Here’s today’s Google Doodle, in celebration of I-Day. In a statement, the company said: “A unique paper-cut art style has been used to create a Doodle fit for the bold and colorful celebration of today’s events. The Parliament House depicted commemorates this day, this movement, and this triumph of independence.”
The Parliament building is seen in the doodle, a symbolic wheel for the Ashok Chakra and the peacock, India’s national bird. It is in the shades of saffron, green, white and blue.
7.30 am: PM Modi has unfurled the national flag and will begin his address any minute now.
7.20 am: PM Modi has reached the Red Fort, where he will hoist the Tricolour before addressing the nation. This is his fourth address as Prime Minister.
7.10 am: The Prime Minister has reached Rajghat, where he is paying his respects to Mahatma Gandhi.
7.00 am: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the people of the country this morning. “I congratulate the people of the country on this Independence Day. Let us today pledge for a new India,” he said, reported news agency ANI. He unfolded the Tricolour at his residence.
6.45 am: Taking to Twitter on Tuesday morning, PM Modi said, “Independence Day greetings to my fellow Indians. Jai Hind.” He will be addressing the nation from the Red Fort shortly. To follow his speech, click here.
#स्वतंत्रतादिवस के शुभ अवसर पर सभी देशवासियों को बहुत-बहुत बधाई। जय हिन्द! Independence Day greetings to my fellow Indians. Jai Hind.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 15, 2017
(With inputs from agencies)