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Peaceful Republic Day celebrations in J&K

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | January 26, 2009 15:00 IST
Last Updated: January 26, 2009 15:11 IST


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A peaceful Republic Day was observed in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] on Monday with tensions remaining low amid a total shut down in the Valley.

The main Republic Day function was held in the winter capital Jammu where Governor N N Vohra unfurled the national flag and took salute at the parade.

Addressing the main function in the Maulana Azad stadium, Vohra urged all those "not inclined to place faith in the democratic resolution of their grievances to recognise the futility and the tragically high cost of pursuing the path of conflict and violence and seriously meditate the advantages of the democratic processes".

Vohra observed that the just-concluded elections had held out an important message for all such people to review their options and to give up the path of terror and bloodshed.

In summer capital Srinagar [Images], the main function was held in the heavily-guarded Bakshi stadium.

Security forces had laid down a three-tier cordon around the parade venue to secure it from any terrorist attacks. Hi-tech electronic jamming equipments were also used as part of the security bandobust.

Specially-trained commandos were deployed inside the stadium where Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar unfurled the national flag and took the salute.

All high-rise buildings around the venue were taken over by sharpshooters to thwart any grenade or rocket attacks.

Although tensions were less in comparison to past 20 years, the protest shutdown called by the separatist All Parties Hurriyat conference groups headed by Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, crippled life in the Valley.

Markets remained closed throughout the Valley and there was very little public or private transport movement. Streets in Srinagar were deserted and police and paramilitary forces were seen patrolling.

Contingents of Border Security Force, CRPF, police, fire services and smartly-dressed school children march-passed before the Republic Day podium.

"The peace process started by former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee needs to be carried forward as good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan has a direct bearing on Jammu and Kashmir," Sagar said.

Republic Day functions and celebrations were also held at all other district headquarters of the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh regions of the state, which were also completed peacefully.






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