New Delhi: A kaleidoscope of the rich cultural heritage of states and their journey towards development was on display as colourful parades marked the 70th Republic Day which passed off peacefully amid tight security, though celebrations were marred in some parts of Northeast following a boycott call by outfits against the citizenship bill.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced the launch of a scheme to ensure 100 days of employment every year to the youths from the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the urban areas during his address. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced waiver of farmers’ outstanding irrigation taxes worth Rs 207 crore during his Republic Day address in Raipur.
Jharkhand Governor Droupadi Murmu hailed the state’s efforts to create a conducive industrial environment, making way for more investments and job opportunities. Kerala governor P Sathasivam pitched for a united approach towards rebuilding the state devastated by last year’s deadly monsoon floods and cautioned against narrow politics and violent protests derailing the efforts and lowering the state’s image. (Watch: Military Might, Cultural Heritage on Display: How India Celebrated Republic Day 2019)
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said the militancy-hit Kashmir valley will once again become “the paradise on earth” as was once described by Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Mobile internet services were suspended across Kashmir as a precautionary measure on the occasion, but mobile phone services functioned as usual. Normal life was affected due to a strike called by separatist groups, which asked people to observe the Republic Day as a “black day”.
Security was tightened in the Northeast which was rocked by protests against the citizenship bill. Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan addressed an almost-empty ground in Aizawl on the occasion due to a statewide boycott call given by an umbrella organisation. No member from the general public attended the function, police said, adding only ministers, legislators and top officials were present.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed in Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Several outfits in the Northeast have opposed it claiming that it would undermine the rights of the indigenous people of the region.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh came down heavily on organisations that boycotted the celebrations in the state against the bill, saying they should instead contest elections to get people’s mandate. He warned that actions of these outfits would tantamount to running a “parallel administration” which is “unacceptable”.
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi said there is no place for illegal foreigners and only the indigenous people of the state have the right on its resources. Apprehending that the protests against the bill could affect the celebrations, the Assam Police took rigorous steps to ensure that no one carried a black cloth to official functions.
Black flags were being shown to the ministers and senior BJP leaders wherever they have been going during the last few weeks in the state as part of protests.
In Gujarat, six children and a woman constable riding a stunt motorcycle were injured when the two-wheeler slipped at a state-level Republic Day parade organised in Palanpur. A Madhya Pradesh minister was unable to read out the chief minister’s message during a Republic Day function in Gwalior and had to ask the district collector to read it.
A video of the incident was widely circulated on social media showing MP Women and Child Development Minister Imarti Devi reading Nath’s message in broken Hindi before she asked the collector to read it.
Tripura Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki stressed the need for cordial relations with neighbouring Bangladesh for development of transport routes that would benefit the state as well as the entire northeastern region.
Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan hoisted the tricolour and said the state was poised to spearhead the country’s efforts in leveraging technology for development and governance and in enhancing happiness levels of people despite “hostile treatment” by the Centre and a “non-conducive” atmosphere.
In Odisha, colourful tableaux displaying the state’s rich culture and progress made in different sectors were taken out on the stretch, enthralling the bystanders. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said development, the welfare of the poor and empowerment of all sections have become the state’s identity
Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh Saturday joined the nation in celebrating the 70th Republic Day, amid tight security arrangements.
Police, home guards and NCC contingents were among other participants in the parades held in district headquarters in the two states and their joint capital Chandigarh A slew of flag hoisting ceremonies was held across Uttarakhand on Saturday to mark the 70th Republic Day.
A mini-India came alive on the streets of Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow on the occasion as artists from 11 states along with marching contingents and youngsters participated in the colourful festivities despite the cold weather.
(This is published unedited from the PTI feed.)