Extremism was the biggest challenge that the country was facing, said S. Sarma, Minister for Fisheries.

Delivering the Independence Day message here on Sunday, Mr. Sarma said that the nation should rekindle the spirit of the independence struggle, tolerance and sacrifice for fighting the divisive forces. The spirit of freedom and independence would become meaningful only if it helps in attaining material progress to the citizens of the country. The country has a long way to go in fulfilling the goals of complete health care, food and housing for its people, Mr. Sarma said.

The Minister earlier received the salute at the Independence Day parade held at Marine Drive. He also distributed the prizes for the best platoons which participated in the parade. Armed police, scouts, guides, and band troupes from various educational institutions participated in the parade. The students from the Government Girls High School rendered patriotic songs. The Minister presented a cash award and mementoes for the school.

He also presented the Chief Minister's police awards to 11 policemen at the function.

Dominic presentation and K. Babu, MLAs, District Collector M. Beena, IG B. Sandhya, City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham and several government officials attended the function.

Flag-hoisting

V.V. Sidharthan, president of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association, hoisted the national flag in connection with the Independence Day celebrations organised by the Association. J. Chalameswar, Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala and Viju Abraham, secretary of the association spoke at the function.

N. Ramachandran, chairman of the Cochin Port Trust, inspected a parade by the Central Industrial Security Force at Wellingdon Island on the day.

He also hoisted the national flag.

A.M. Shafik, president of the Central Administrative Tribunal, hoisted the flag at the celebrations held at the Ernakulam bench of the tribunal. K. Thankappan, judicial member of the tribunal, and Sunil Jacob Jose, government standing counsel, spoke. Students of the Al-Ameen Public School, Edapally, rendered patriotic songs, said a communication issued by V. Soman, deputy registrar of the tribunal.

Independence Day was also celebrated at Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Kochi. S. Anantha Narayanan, director of the laboratory, hoisted the national flag and addressed the officers and staff.

The occasion was marked by the setting up of a garden near the community hall. A quiz and a painting competition for school children were also organised.

A patriotic movie was also screened on the occasion.

K. Padmanabhan Nair, judicial member, hoisted the national flag at the Armed Forces Tribunal Regional Bench, Kochi, to mark the Independence Day celebrations. Lt. Gen. Thomas Mathew, administrative member, gave the message. The law officers of Army, Navy and Air Force, lawyers and staff of the tribunal participated in the celebrations.

The celebrations of the Amrita School of Arts and Sciences. Edapally, were inaugurated by U. Krishnakumar, director of the school.

The campus was cleaned as part of the celebrations.

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