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Republic Day celebrated across Jammu amid tight security arrangements

Republic Day celebrated across Jammu amid tight security arrangements

Jammu: Amid tight security arrangements, the 71st Republic Day was celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety across the Jammu region on Sunday with Lt Governor G C Murmu unfurling the national flag at the main function here.

This was the first Republic Day after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was withdrawn on August 5 last year and the erstwhile state was divided into two Union Territories.

Murmu unfurled the tricolour at the jam-packed Maulana Azad Stadium in the heart of the city, inspected the parade and took salute at an impressive march past which was commanded by Colonel Rajesh Kumar Sharma of the 5th battalion of J&K Light Infantry (JAKLI).

Besides JAKLI, the contingents of BSF, CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police, Indian Reserve Police, Disaster Response Force, Jammu and Kashmir Fire and emergency services, ex-servicemen, NCC girls and boys and Bharat scouts took part in the march past.

He also addressed the function, witnessing cultural and sports programmes by young boys and girls, and scintillating performance by local police's daredevils' motorcycle stunt team. An IAF chopper showered flower petals at the start of the function, which attracted huge applause, while three helicopters flew overhead at regular intervals during the event.

With three former chief ministers -- National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti -- still under detention in Srinagar, the only prominent face among the politicians at the official function was Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina.

"This Republic Day is historic for the people of Jammu and Kashmir because the dream of our martyrs for 'Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan and Pradhan' (one Constitution, one flag and one sovereign head) became a reality. Only the national flag fluttered this time," Raina told reporters at the end of the function.

The abrogation of Article 370 completed the 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' mission, he said, adding that it is the day to take a pledge to make the country a world power.

However, he refused to comment on the absence of the former chief ministers who are under detention since August 5 last year.

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