PUDUCHERRY: A plethora of events have been planned to mark the 61st anniversary of Puducherry Liberation day on November 1. Puducherry was liberated on this day, 1954 from French rule and the administration handed over to the Indian government.
The then French establishments of all the four regions of the union territory merged de-facto with the Indian union putting an end to French rule. A referendum was conducted by the French administration at the border village of Keezhoor to ascertain the wishes of the people. Of the 178 members of the then representative council participated in the referendum at Keezhoor, 170 favoured the merger of the French establishments with the Indian union ensuring a smooth transfer of power which ended nearly 280 years of French rule.
At 6.45 on the morning of 1st November, 1954, more than 3 lakh people inhabiting French enclaves in Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam rejoiced when the regions joined their mother country. The ceremony at the government house in Pondicherry witnessed Pierre Landy, the Special Envoy of the French government handed over the seals of authority to Kewal Singh, the Indian Consul General in French India. The two officials then signed on behalf of their respective governments with the Instrument of Transfer negotiated between India and France. A salvo of guns was fired to mark the occasion and the Indian tricolour went up over the Government house.
The day also marked the return of 35 political leaders of the stature of V.Subbiah, the Communist leader, E.Goubert, Mouttoucomparapparettiar Mouttoupoulle who were received with tumultuous ovation by large crowds.
The Treaty of Cession concluded between the two governments of India and France was ratified by both the parliaments on 16th August 1962 and thereafter Pondicherry became an integral part of India.
Puducherry chief minister N Rangasamy will hoist the national flag at the Beach Road here and inspect a guard of honour presented by the Puducherry armed police to mark the occasion. A march-past by the police and students will follow and cultural programmes will be held. The Tri-colour will be hoisted atop the legislative assembly and all other government buildings tomorrow.
Freedom fighters will be honoured and all monuments including the Keezhoor monument (where the referendum was conducted), statues and buildings will be illuminated.
The Puducherry administration started celebrating November 1 as the Liberation day and announced it as a public holiday, only last year. Till last year it was celebrated on August 16 on a low-key note.