India Celebrates Republic Day; Blasts in Manipur - The New Indian Express

India Celebrates Republic Day; Blasts in Manipur

Published: 26th January 2014 04:48 PM

Last Updated: 26th January 2014 08:12 PM

Unfurling of the national flag and vibrant parades today marked the Republic Day across the country, but the celebrations were marred in Manipur where suspected militants triggered four powerful bomb explosions.

However, none was injured in the blasts in different places in and around Imphal. Six major insurgent outfits in Manipur had given a call to boycott the Republic Day celebrations.

Two bombs exploded in the capital complex near the deputy commissioner's officer when the march past was on at around 8.25 AM at the centrally located Kangla, while two other explosions were reported from Chingmeirong and Chingamakha on the outskirts of the city at around 11 AM.

In Jammu, Governor N N Vohra hoisted the tricolour at Maulana Azad Stadium, saying security forces should continue to maintain a close vigil without lowering their guard till a peaceful environment emerged in Jammu and Kashmir.

He asked Pakistan to maintain calm along the border and said repeated ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration have yet again disrupted normalcy in the state.

"Needless to say, till a peaceful environment emerges our security forces shall continue to enforce eternal vigil along the frontiers without lowering their guard," Vohra said.

"The repeated breach of the ceasefire agreement and continuing attempts at infiltration across the International Border and the Line of Control in the past year have yet again disrupted normalcy and caused varied problems for our people who live in villages along the border," he said.

Vohra hoped Pakistan will "respond positively" to the peace initiatives which have recently been taken by India.

Meanwhile, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir this morning by resorting to unprovoked firing for three hours.

"Today morning at 6:15 AM, when it was dark, there was unprovoked firing from Pakistani side. They fired about three rocket-propelled grenades and small arms on to the Kaman post (in Uri sector) on the Indian side," GoC of 19 Infantry Division Major General Anil Chauhan said in Srinagar.

There was no casualty in the ceasefire violation, the first in Kashmir since the DGMO-level talks between India and Pakistan last month.

In Srinagar, shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic remained off the roads in most parts of the Valley in wake of a strike called by hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatists in support of resolution of Kashmir issue.

People defied a bandh call given by a separatist outfit in Meghalaya and joined the 65th Republic Day celebrations.

Assam Governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik appealed to underground militant groups to abjure violence and come to the discussion table to solve the issues for an overall development of the state.

Hoisting the tricolour in Guwahati, he condemned the recent incidents of violence in many districts across Assam and said the culprits will be punished.

The day was celebrated across Odisha with gaiety and enthusiasm amidst tightened security in view of a boycott call by Maoists.

Suspected Naxals put up black flags in some pockets of Chitrakonda and Kalimela areas in Malkangiri district.

Four persons, including a government employee, were abducted in Giridih district of Jharkhand by suspected Maoists ahead of the Republic Day.

The rebels intercepted a car near Nokanya village and abducted the occupants - an employee of a block development office, two members of a panchayat, another person and the driver of the vehicle - yesterday, Giridih Superintendent of Police Kranti Kumar said. They, however, let off the driver later.

Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt asserted that the state government would firmly deal with Naxals and other terror elements operating in the state.

"Steps are being taken to provide better resources and facilities to 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.

For the first time in Mumbai, the parade was held at Marine Drive, instead of the Shivaji Park ground.

Thousands of people had gathered to witness the colourful event, attended by Bollywood actors including Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Sushmita Sen and Shreyas Talpade.

It was a momentous day for 13 prisoners in Himachal Pradesh when they took part in "prisoners band squad" during the parade in Shimla, marching to the tune of 'Sare Jahan Sey Accha.'

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