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New Delhi, Aug 15: As India celebrated its 71st Independence Day on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from Red Fort and asserted on the importance of corruption-free governance. In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi paid tribute to freedom fighters and condoled the death of more than 70 children, who lost their lives so far, due to the alleged lack of oxygen in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur. Chief Ministers across India hoisted the national flag and took the stage in their states to speak with the people. Also Read - PM Modi Concludes 3-City Vaccine Tour: Highlights From His Visit to Key COVID Facilities

Earlier today, Modi, who reached the 17th-century monument to give his customary Independence Day speech, was received by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra. The Prime Minister then unfurled the national flag amid a 21 gun salute. While addressing the nation from the rampart of Red Fort, PM Modi said India was growing swiftly due to good governance. Talking about Kashmir unrest, he said the Kashmir problem can only be solved by embracing ordinary Kashmiris. Also Read - PM Modi Reaches Pune's Serum Institute to Review Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Celebrations have begun in every state of the country. Here’s a glimpse

Congress Slams PM Modi

The Congress on Tuesday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech as “most disappointing” and said his promise of curbing black money “remains a sham”. “His (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) fight against black money was a sham and remains a sham,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters here.

Independence Day Celebration in Rajasthan

Rajasthan on Tuesday celebrated the 71st Independence Day with traditional enthusiasm and fervour throughout the state. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje unfurled the national flag at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium and highlighted the policies of her government in a speech.

Odisha Celebrates Independence Day Despite Maoist-threats

Undeterred by the Maoists’ threat, Odisha celebrated the 71st Independence Day amid gaiety and camaraderie with much patriotic fervour on Tuesday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hoisted the national flag at the Mahatma Gandhi Marg here. Around 54 troupes, including school and college students, participated in the march-past, reported IANS.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat Hoists Tricolour at Kerala School

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday unfurled the Indian tricolour at a government-aided school here despite being told by authorities that political personalities were not permitted do this.

Andhra Pradesh Celebrates Independence Day

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu hoisted the national flag in Tirupati to mark the 71st Independence Day celebrations. At the main official function held at Tarakarama stadium, Naidu reviewed the colourful parade. The Chief Minister took the salute from 12 contingents of police forces including Andhra Pradesh Special Police, women’s brigade of Prohibition and Excise Department, Police Band, Bharat Scouts and Guide and ex-servicemen.

Independence Day in Bihar

Assam Celebrates Independence Day

Amid devastating floods, Assam celebrated India’s Independence Day on Tuesday. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal unfurled the national flag at the Veterinary College ground at Khanapara in Guwahati, while his cabinet colleagues and senior officials hoisted the tricolour at celebration venues in different districts.

Independence Day at Madrasa:

Independence Day was celebrated in a madrasa in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district. Uttar Pradesh government issued an order asking madrasas to celebrate Independence Day, make a video of the event and submit it to the authorities.

Midnight flag hoisting in Purnea:

With the whole country celebrating the 71st Independence Day, residents of Bihar’s Purnea gathered at the town’s Augusta Kranti Jhanda Chowk to continue an old tradition of unfurling the tri colour at 12:01 a.m. at midnight, reports ANI. Wherein most parts of India, the national flag is hoisted in the morning of August 15th, Purnea has a special tradition to hoist the flag right from the day of independence at 12:01 a.m. at midnight. This tradition was started by Late freedom fighter Rameshwar Prasad Singh.

8:50 am Update: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion to solve ongoing unrest in the state. “Let us all #HugAKashmiri #IndependenceDayIndia,” tweeted Abdullah. In his Independence Day speech, PM Narendra Modi said the Kashmir crisis will be solved only by hugging Kashmiris.

8:45 am Update: After delivering his speech, PM Narendra Modi meets and shakes hands with children arrived in Red Fort to celebrate Independence Day.

8:30 am Update: PM Narendra Modi concludes his speech, chanting ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

8:27 am Update: 56 lakh new tax payers after demonetisation. Last time it was 22 lakhs, said PM. 3 lakh shell companies discovered after demonetisation, he added.

8:25 am Update: We are fighting corruption – for the bright future of India and the well-being of our people, says PM Modi.

8:22 am Update: “We are dedicating significant attention to East India-Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, and Northeast. These parts have to develop further

8:20 am Update: “India is about Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana. Casteism and communalism will not help us. Violence in the name of ‘Astha’ is not something to be happy about, it will not be accepted in India,” said PM Modi.

8:15 am Update: “I want to mention those women who have to suffer due to ‘Tripe Talaq’. I admire their courage. We are with them in their struggles,” said PM Modi.

8:15 am Update: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said victims of triple talaq stood against the practice and ran a campaign against this practice. “I salute women who stood against triple talaq,” said PM Modi.

8:12 am Update: We are nurturing our youngsters to be job creators and not job seekers, says PM Narendra Modi.

8:09 am Update: We can reach Mangalyaan within 9 months, this is our capability, but one rail project was stuck for last 42 years, say PM Narendra Modi.

8:00 am Update: There is no question of being soft on terrorism or terrorists, says PM Narendra Modi.

7:59 am Update: India’s stature in the world is rising. The world is with us in fighting the menace of terror. I thank all nations helping us doing so: PM Narendra Modi

7:55 am Update: “GST has shown the spirit of cooperative federalism. The nation has come together to support GST and the role of technology has also helped,” said PM Narendra Modi.

7:52 am Update: India’s security is our priority, says PM Narendra Modi.

7:49 am Update: We have to leave this ‘Chalta Hai’ attitude. We have to think of ‘Badal Sakta Hai’- this attitude will help us as a nation, says PM Narendra Modi.

7:45 am Update: “In our nation, there is no one big or small…everybody is equal. Together we can bring a positive change in the nation,” said PM Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.

7:44 am Update: This is a special year- the 75th anniversary of Quit India, 100th anniversary of Champaran Satyagraha, the 125th anniversary of Ganesh Utsav, says PM Modi.

7: 42 am Update: “People of India stand shoulder to shoulder with those affected due to natural disasters and the tragedy in Gorakhpur,” said PM Narendra Modi.

7: 40 am Update: We remember the great women and men who worked hard for India’s freedom, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.

7:38 am Update: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started his Independence Day speech. “Greetings to my fellow Indians on Independence Day,” said PM Modi beginning his address.

7:30 am Update: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoists Tricolour at Red Fort.

7:25 am Update: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Red Fort. He will soon unfurl the Tricolour. 

7:20 am Update: Ahead of the flag hoisting ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat.

7:10 am Update: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to deliver his Independence Day speech at about 7.30 am, just after he unfurls the tricolour at the Red Fort.

7:08 am Update: Ahead of his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave Independence Day greetings to the citizens. “Independence Day greetings to my fellow Indians. Jai Hind,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

7:05 am Update: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation from the Red Fort shortly. Before his Independence Day address, PM Modi will hoist the tricolour on the ramparts of the historical site Red Fort.

7:00 am Update: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh unfurled tricolour at his residence. “I congratulate people of the country on this Independence Day. Let us today take a pledge for a new India,” said Rajnath Singh after hoisting national flag.

On August 15, 1947, India freed itself from the clutches of the British, as the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. August 15 holiday is observed throughout the day with flag hoisting and cultural events. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on the eve of Independence Day. On the morning of August 15 morning, the prime minister will hoist the Indian flag on the ramparts of Red Fort for the fourth time as India celebrates 70 years of freedom, later paying tribute to the Indian freedom fighters. The Independence Day celebration 2017 will begin from 6.30 AM onward.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced an increase of 20 per cent in the pension of freedom fighters and that the government will bear Rs 1 lakh medical costs for poor families. (ALSO READ: Independence Day Celebrations in Pictures: PM Narendra Modi Addresses Nation From Red Fort)

Before the 70th Independence Day, the Modi-government has launched a fortnight-long celebration of Independence Day during which Union Ministers had highlighted the contributions of freedom fighters and martyrs among school children. PM Modi had released a theme song ’70 Saal Azadi, Yaad Karo Kurbani’ for Tiranga Yatra, organised to mark the 70th Independence Day.

In his last Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had touched upon social unity. He said, “Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar ji have always stressed on the need for social unity. Yes, there are problems, but we have to rise above and fight such anti-social elements. Only then we’ll be able to progress in the real sense.”

“Unity in diversity, this is our strength. Despite the diversity, our unity has sustained because of our values… This country will not yield to terrorism and extremism,” Modi said, adding: “the youth who have taken up guns, I urge them to return to their parents, shun violence”.

Last year, BSF and Pak rangers had exchanged sweets at the border. Stay with us to catch live news updates of the 71st Independence Day.