Nation celebrates 59th Republic Day, no untoward incident reported

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New Delhi, Jan 26 (UNI) The 59th Republic Day was celebrated throughout the nation with great zest amid tight security without any untoward incident reported from anywhere.

In the national capital the Republic Day celebrations started with the parade showcasing the country's military might and cultural diversity began on a poignant note at the India Gate with rememberance and honours for the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil became the first female head of state to unfurl the national tricolour of the world's largest democracy on its most revered national day.

Ms Patil was accompanied by this year's Chief Guest French President Nicholas Sarkozy at the ceremonial dais on the majestic Rajpath.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accompanied by the three service chiefs, led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti -- the eternal flame.

Peaceful celebrations marked the Day in the militancy-infested Jammu and Kashmir, with Governor Lt Gen S K Sinha (Retd) hoisting the tri-colour in Jammu. Lt Gen (retd) Sinha said ''Pakistan is not only in a web of terrorist violence but also sectarian conflict, ethnic antagonism and political instability'' asserting, ''the lesson we need to learn from all this, is to fight unitedly the monster of militancy violence and the demon of religious fanaticism.'' On the other side at least 35 leaders of the Hurriyat Conference (Mirwaiz), including Shabir Ahmed Shah and Nayeem Ahmed Khan, were arrested by police immediately after they submitted a memorandum to United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOG) at Sonawar.

Manipur celebrated the Day amid an unprecedented security in view of boycott call by insurgents as state capital Imphal was brought under a security blanket. The Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF), along with other insurgents of the north east like the Kamatapur Liberation Organization(KLO), Tripura Peoples Democratic Front(TPDF) and the United Liberation Front of Asom had called a general strike from 1300 hrs to 1800 hrs today in the entire north eastern region.

In Assam, the Republic Day celebrations passed off peacefully despite boycott call by militants. Venues of official functions in many districts were changed at the last minute to thwart any possible attack from ultras while at the central function Governor Lt General Ajay Singh once again appealed to the ULFA to come to the negotiation table.

The Day was celebrated across Meghalaya amid tight security in view of the boycott call given by the banned militant outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberationv Council (HNLC).

Unseasonal showers marred the Republic Day celebrations in Kolkata where West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi unfurled the tricolour and took the guard of honour from the state military personnel at a parade on the Red Road as they displayed their strength, bravery and patriotism.

In Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala unfurled the national flag and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi presented the gallantry awards as part of the Republic Day celebrations.

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