Republic Day celebrations pass off peacefully in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 26: Amid tight security, Republic Day celebrations in Kashmir passed off peacefully with unfurling of the tricolour and cultural programmes at various places.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Asghar Samoon took the salute at the march past at Bakshi Stadium here, where the main function in the Valley was held.

R-Day celebrations pass off peacefully

Despite bone-chilling cold, good turnout was witnessed at the Republic day functions at various district headquarters in the Valley, officials said.

It was for the second time in as many years that a civilian administrator, and not a minister of the state government, presided over the Republic Day function at Bakshi Stadium due to Governor's Rule in the state.

"The Republic Day celebrations have concluded across Kashmir peacefully with no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the Valley," a senior police officer said.

He said adequate security arrangements were put in place to thwart any designs of militants to disrupt the celebrations. Heightened security arrangements were put in place across the Valley in view of the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in Punjab on January 2.

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Deputy Commissioners of respective districts presided over the Republic Day functions. Besides march past by contingents of police, police, CRPF, BSF and school children, cultural programmes were performed at the functions at several places in the Valley.

According to officials, Bandipora in north Kashmir witnessed the largest gathering as 10,000 people turned up for the function followed by Srinagar where 7,000 people were present. A strike was called by separatist groups asking the people to observe it as a 'black day' though offices and business establishments were already closed on account of it being a national holiday.

There were reports of shutdown being observed from major towns in the Valley, officials said. Mobile internet services were snapped today as a precautionary measure at around 8 AM.

The were liklely to be resumed in the afternoon. However, mobile phone operations were not suspended as was done on Independence Day last year. Unlike earlier, authorities had allowed uninterrupted mobile services on Republic Day last year.

Snapping of mobile phone and internet services on mobile devices were added to the security drill in 2005 after militants detonated a bomb using a cell phone near Bakshi Stadium on Independence Day that year.

Police and paramilitary personnel had been deployed in strength across the city and other vulnerable areas in the Valley, a police officer said. Sharp shooters were deployed on high rise buildings around Bakshi stadium, where Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Asghar Samoon unfurled the national flag and took salute at the march past, he said.


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