71st Republic Day celebrations: India's cultural diversity put on display across the country

The national capital was under a multi-layered, ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel, aided by dozens of drones and hundreds of CCTV cameras and facial recognition devices.
Soldiers march during the 71st Republic Day parade. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)
Soldiers march during the 71st Republic Day parade. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

NEW DELHI: A magnificent display of India's cultural diversity through colourful parades across the length and breadth of the country marked the 71st Republic Day celebrations on Sunday which passed off peacefully, barring in Upper Assam, which was rocked by four explosions within a span of 10 minutes.

The national capital was under a multi-layered, ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel, aided by dozens of drones and hundreds of CCTV cameras and facial recognition devices, keeping a tight vigil.

In Guwahati, Governor Jagdish Mukhi hoisted the National Flag at the main function.

He said the Assam government is fully committed to the rights of indigenous people though he did not mention the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in his speech.

Meanwhile, four powerful explosions - three in Dibrugarh and one in Charaideo districts - rocked Upper Assam between 8.15 and 8.25 am, a police officer said.

But there has been no report of any casualty, he said.

According to sources, the explosions were suspected to be the handiwork of the ULFA(Independent), but nothing has been established as yet.

The ULFA(I), along with several other proscribed outfits in the Northeast, had called for a boycott of the Republic Day celebrations.

"India's diversity strengthens us. We are proud that so many cultures live happily in India. We saw some glimpses of India's diversity during the Republic Day Parade today," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

In J&K, the Day was celebrated with traditional fervour across the Jammu region with Lt Governor G C Murmu unfurling the national flag at the main function in Jammu.

This was the first Republic Day after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was withdrawn on August 5 last year and the erstwhile state was divided into two Union Territories.

Murmu unfurled the tricolour at the jam-packed Maulana Azad Stadium, inspected the parade and took salute at an impressive march-past.

In Telangana, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said in her speech that the state stood first in many sectors, but it was lagging behind in literacy.

"The government will soon announce an action-plan to make the state fully literate. I urge all people to participate in this movement," she said.

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi hoisted the tricolour and read the Preamble of the Constitution in the old city of Hyderabad, party sources said.

Meanwhile, the national carrier Air India celebrated the 71st Republic Day by distributing 30,000 Indian flags made of eco-friendly seed paper among its passengers at airports in metro cities and Srinagar on Sunday.

The airlines also put up a big hoarding at the historic Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar to congratulate the people on Republic Day.

In Kerala, leading the Republic Day celebrations, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said Indianness has been rooted in diversity and in acceptance of which the country has always sheltered the persecuted people of the world.

Khan unfurled the national flag at the state-level celebration.

Mosques under the Wakf Board and the Latin churches hoisted the national flag and read out the preamble to the Constitution after the routine prayer.

In Chhattisgarh, in her Republic Day address at the Police Parade grounds in Raipur, Governor Anusuiya Uikey said Naxal violence and other crimes have declined in the state due to vigilant police force and several initiatives in justice delivery.

In Gujarat, daredevil stunts performed by police personnel on motorcycles and horses, tableaux showing achievements of the state and cultural events marked the Republic Day event held at Rajkot in Saurashtra.

A group of senior citizens and children unfurled the tricolour by standing in seawater off Porbandar coast, while students of Jamnagar took out a 'tiranga yatra' holding the 111-metre long national flag.

In Uttar Pradesh, 71 contingents comprising the army, paramilitary, police and school children dressed in uniforms and attires marched through the streets here to celebrate the 71st Republic Day.

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit led the celebrations in the state, unfurling the national flag at the Marina.

In Meghalaya, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma shared with people his government's vision for the state for the next 10 years.

In a departure from tradition, the chief minister unfurled the Tricolour as Governor Tathagata Roy was currently on leave.

Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad said the state has become a model for others to emulate for maintaining peace and harmony.

MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath said connecting people's hearts is the culture of India as well as the Congress, and those trying to go against it and the Constitution will be dealt with firmly.

Andhra Pradesh is poised to march on the path of inclusive growth through decentralisation of administration, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan said.

The Republic Day was celebrated with fanfare in Karnataka with an eye-catching march past, cultural events and breathtaking stunts by the defence personnel marking the state-level event at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground here.

In West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar unfurled the tricolour and presided over a ceremonial march past by armed forces at Red Road in the state capital.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who attended the programme along with her cabinet colleagues, greeted the governor, after the conclusion of the programme.

Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh joined the nation in celebrating the 71st Republic Day.

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The New Indian Express