New Delhi: As India celebrates its 64th Republic Day on Saturday, the main parade began at Rajghat--the heart of the capital. The parade had 'mini-India' in itself.

Marching down from the Raisina Hills to Red Fort, the parade showcased India's 'unity in diversity' and the military might as thousands of spectators along the eight km long route cheered the marching contingents and the mechanised columns.

The dignitaries who watched the march-past included the Republic Day chief guest, Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony and the country's top political and military brass.

Republic Day celebrated in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow: The Republic Day was celebrated across Uttar Pradesh on Saturday with traditional fervour. The main parade, led by an army contingent, was received with applause here as residents braved the early morning chill to make it to the Vidhan Sabha Marg to catch a glimpse of the colourful show.

Governor BL Joshi took the salute at the parade. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was present. Other than the police and military, students from different schools also participated in the parade. Across the state, the day was celebrated at district headquarters.

Amid fog and icy winds, Bihar celebrates Republic Day

Patna: Ignoring a dense fog and icy winds, hundreds of thousands across Bihar celebrated India's 64th Republic Day on Saturday.

Governor Devanand Kunwar hoisted the tricolour at an impressive march past at the historic Gandhi Maidan here. The governor lauded the state government for high growth rate, initiating several steps to develop Bihar and for combating corruption and crime.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hoisted the tricolour at his official residence here. Celebrations took place at various district headquarters, with thousands participating in every venue, official sources said.

Maoists put up black flags in Gaya, Aurangabad and Banka, police sources said.



Mobile phone services suspended in Kashmir Valley

Srinagar: Ahead of Republic Day parades in Srinagar and elsewhere on Saturday, mobile phone services were suspended across the Kashmir Valley as part of a security drill.

Different service providers did not issue any alert to subscribers before suspending their services. Contacted on landline phones, people in Srinagar, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Badgam, Baramulla, Sopore and other towns said mobile phones had stopped working since Saturday morning.

Last year too mobile phone services were withdrawn in the valley Jan 26 and Aug 15.In the past, separatist guerrillas triggered improved explosive devices using mobile telephones.

Chhattisgarh tribal defy Maoists, celebrate R-Day

Raipur: Chhattisgarh's tribal population in the Maoist bastion Bastar on Saturday defied Maoist dictates and celebrated Republic Day although the rebels blocked dozens of roads in forested interiors.

Reports from Dantewada, Sukma, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kanaker, Bastar and Kondagaon districts which together form the Bastar region said tribals came out in large numbers to attend Republic Day celebrations.

Inspector General of Police Himanshu Gupta, who presides over the Bastar region, said the guerrillas laid heavy wooden logs in key forest roads to force people to stay indoors."This is a known Maoist tactic to enforce a boycott of Republic Day," Gupta said.

Chief Minister Raman Singh hoisted the national flag at Lalbagh ground at Jagdalpur.In a brief speech, he said his government was determined to improve people's quality of life.

Governor Shekhar Dutt unfurled the tricolour at the state's main Republic Day event at the Police Parade ground here where a dog show was the star attraction for roughly 5,000 people.


People celebrate R-Day in Himachal amid bone chilling cold

Shimla: Braving sub-zero temperatures at most places people across Himachal Pradesh on Saturday celebrated the Republic Day with enthusiasm. Governor Urmila Singh unfurled the national flag at the state-level function at the historic Ridge here, where Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, his cabinet colleagues and senior officials were present.

The governor took salute at a parade by contingents of police, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Home Guards, the army, NCC and ex-servicemen. Government departments exhibited colourful tableaux. In snow-bound Keylong, headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, Deputy Commissioner SS Guleria presided over the official function. The minimum temperature of the town was 15.1 degrees below the freezing point.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Neeraj Bharti presided over the function at Rekong Peo in Kinnaur district where the night temperature was minus 8.8 degrees. In both Keylong and Rekong Peo town snowfall has snapped major road links.

Despite the chill, people in both towns took part in the flag hoisting ceremonies. Cultural programmes were staged by schoolchildren. Opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal was conspicuously absent at the function here.


Jairam Ramesh hoists Indian flag in Jharkhand

Ranchi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh hoisted the tricolour in a Maoist den in Jharkhand on the occasion of India's Republic Day.

Saranda forest is situated in West Singhbhum district, and Ramesh initiated a Saranda Action Plan to battle Maoist terror in the forest area with economic development. The minister hoisted the tricolor in Digha village, around 190 km from Ranchi.

Officials said that it was after many years that the Indian tricolour had been hoisted in Saranda forest - a Maoist den. Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmd hoisted the national flag at the Morabadi ground in Ranchi and took salute from security personnel.

Patriotic fervour marks R-Day in Andhra

Hyderabad: Patriotic fervour marked the 64th Republic Day celebrations across Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.

Governor ESL Narasimhan led the celebrations by unfurling the national flag at the main ceremony at the Secunderabad Parade Grounds here. He took the salute and reviewed a colourful parade by contingents of the Indian Air Force, defence establishments, police, Home Guards and NCC. Tableaux by government departments highlighted the development and welfare schemes in the state.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, Speaker N Manohar and ministers and officials attended the function.


Maharastra celebrates Republic Day

Mumbai: Maharashtra celebrated India's Republic Day with patriotic fervour Saturday, with politicians and citizens unfurling scores of national flags across the state.

Schools, colleges, institutions and housing societies hoisted the tricolour in the morning. In many places, students and teachers presented cultural programmes. The flag hoisting also took place at all district headquarters. Many children from Mumbai schools participated in the Republic Day parade held at Shivaji Park in south-central Mumbai in the presence of Governor K Sankaranarayanan and several state ministers.

Sankaranarayanan took salute at an impressive parade by security forces and unfurled the tricolour. The function was attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and several other ministers. At Vile Parle in northwest Mumbai, a martyrs' memorial - Rashtriya Shaheed Smarak - was inaugurated by Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan, Congress MP Priya Dutt and legislator Krishna Hegde. A seven-foot sculpture of a lion cast in bronze fashioned by artist Omprakash Shirgaonkar drew a parallel between the bravery of the lion and martyrs.

Pomp, pageantry mark R-Day in Karnataka

Bangalore: Pomp and pageantry marked the 64th Republic Day celebrations across Karnataka on Saturday, with Governor HR Bharadwaj unfurling the national flag and inspecting a guard of honour after taking salute at an impressive parade here.

On a bright sunny day with cool breeze wafting across the Field Marshal Manekshaw ground, rose petals were showered from an army chopper around the podium where the governor, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and other dignitaries were seated.

Bhardwaj went around the ground in an open jeep and received salute from the armed forces and other contingents including police and hundreds of school children, with military and police bands in attendance. About 8,000 people packing the venue cheered the security forces and other participants.


Punjab, Haryana join nation in celebrating Republic Day
    
Chandigarh: Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on Saturday joined the nation in celebrating the 64th Republic day amidst tight security arrangements.
    
Contingents of police, Homeguards, NCC and school children among others participated in the parades held at several district headquarters in the two states and their joint capital Chandigarh.
    
Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia unfurled the tri-colour at Ropar and Faridabad respectively, while Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda took salute at Amritsar and Rewari respectively.
    
In Chandigarh, K K Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, unfurled the tricolour and took the salute.


Margaret Alva unfurls Tricolour at Jaipur
    
Jaipur: Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva on Saturday unfurled the Tricolour at the Republic Day function in Sawai Man Singh stadium here.
    
Alva took a salute and inspected the Republic Day parade conducted by the Hadi Radi Battalion, Jawans of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary, Rajasthan Police, Government Railway Police, Jail, Home Guards, Ex-servicemen and NCC.
    
Bands also took part in the state-level function.
    
After the march past, the Governor awarded Police Medal for gallantry (posthumously) to Head constable Khem Singh. His wife Kashmiri Devi received the award.
    
IPS officers Hemant Kumar and T L Meena were awarded with President's Police Medal for their distinguished services while 17 other personnel were awarded police medals for meritorious and distinguished services.
    

Republic Day celebrated in Assam

Guwahati: The Republic Day boycott called by Northeast militant outfits, including the ULFA and NDFB, failed to evoke response in Assam on Saturday with people coming out in large numbers to attend the celebrations.
    
Governor JB Patnaik unfurled the National Tricolour and addressed the people at the central function at the Khanapara Veterinary College playground here.
    
Besides march-pasts by the state police and central security forces, there were also dance performances by different ethnic groups of the state upholding the spirit of the republic.
    
Similar official R-day functions were organised by the government at district headquarters addressed by cabinet ministers. No untoward incident had been reported as security was tightened across the state, official sources said.
    
An alert was also sounded following intelligence that the ULFA along with Maoists may carry out subversive activities across the state, the sources said.
    
Government announces Rs 1 kg rice scheme in Odisha
    
Bhubaneswar: The Republic Day was celebrated across Odisha with gaiety and enthusiasm today with the government announcing Rs 1 per kg rice scheme for the poor and steps to set up fast track courts for offences against women.
    
Besides people living below poverty line (BPL), Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, disabled and beneficiaries of antyodaya scheme would also get Rs 1 per kg rice from February, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said addressing the celebrations at the historic Barabati stadium at Cuttack. Currently the government provides Rs 2 per kg rice to the poor.

JPN/Agencies

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