Amid unfurling of the tricolour and colourful parades, the Republic Day was celebrated across the country peacefully on Saturday with a boycott call by Naxal and north-eastern militant outfits failing to evoke response.
Calls to extremists to shun the gun and come forward for talks, concerns about development and ensuring dignity and security of women and children were some of the issues underscored by Governors, Chief Ministers and other leaders during the festivities, marked with patriotic fervour, which honour the day Indian Constitution came into force in 1950.
In Jammu and Kashmir, Governor N N Vohra hoisted the tricolour at Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu amid tight security.
He said in the past two years there has been a decline in terrorist violence and observed that if there are no adverse developments along the frontiers in the coming days, people can look forward to enjoying the fruits of peace.
He, however, cautioned that security forces cannot think of lowering guard under any circumstances till such time as sustained calm prevails on the north western frontiers in the state, a reference to the recent tension along the Line of Control following ceasefire violations and beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops.
Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, who presided over the main Republic Day function in Kashmir, said “Gun has only brought destruction to this place (Kashmir). No issue can be solved by guns”. He said those who have differing views should come to the dialogue table.
“We may not agree with their views, but the essence of democracy is in resolving issues through dialogue. It is the only way to settle issues,” the minister said.
With insurgents in Manipur exploding three powerful bombs on Friday, including one at the first Manipur Rifles ground in Imphal where the Republic Day function is held, there was heavy security in place on Saturday as Governor Gurbachan Jagat took the salute from various contingents at the march past.
A boycott call by all major insurgent organisations of the north-east, including TLFA, NDFB, United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) did not evoke response and the states saw large public gatherings at official functions.
Security personnel had fanned out across the states, with ground-to-air security apparatus in place to thwart any militant attack.
Assam Governor J B Patnaik, who unfurled the tricolour and addressed the people in Guwahati, said the government’s counter insurgency operations have yielded positive results and steps were being taken to bring about overall socio-economic development in the state.
Meghalaya Governor R S Mooshahary appealed to all militant elements in the state to seek resolution of their demands through established ’democratic processes’ and to abjure the path of violence.
“Certain groups, especially in the Garo Hills, have been indulging in extortion, abduction, intimidation and violence thereby disrupting the normal life and causing immense hardship to the people, while ostensibly fighting for the welfare of the people,” he said.
Nagaland celebrated the 64th Republic Day with Governor Nikhil Kumar calling upon citizens to ensure free and fair Assembly elections on February 23.
With no insurgent group calling for a boycott of the celebrations being held throughout the state, people in huge numbers joined the celebrations.
Taking salute from various contingents of security forces at the Assam Rifles ground here on the Republic Day, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar appealed to the people to remain alert from the forces who were trying to destroy sovereignty of the country.
Mr. Sarkar said, “The freedom fighters of our country had dreamt of making an India which would fulfill the aspirations of people, ensure eradication of poverty, give employment and people would have a decent living.
“But our country is yet to fulfil the dreams of freedom fighters which should be our agenda,” he said.
Arunachal Pradesh Governor Gen (Retd) J J Singh expressed his dream of a vibrant, prosperous and peaceful state.
“I dream of a bright future for all Arunachalis, where they not only enjoy the highest per capita income, but also the highest per capita happiness. May our ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ continue to stand strong as the eastern sentinel of our great nation,” the Governor said in his Republic Day speech after unfurling the tri—colour at I G Park in Itanagar this morning.
Mizoram Governor Vakkom B Purushothaman said that the gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Mizoram has grown by 9.57 per cent during 2011-2012 against the national economic growth rate of 8.8 per cent.
In his customary gubernatorial address after unfurling the tri-colour at the function to celebrate Republic Day at Assam Rifles ground here, Mr. Purushothaman said that the per capita income has also increased from Rs 30,488 in 2007-08 to Rs 50,021 in 2011-2012.
The 64th Republic Day was celebrated traditionally with gaiety in different parts of Uttar Pradesh, including the state capital.
In a function organised in Lucknow, Governor B L Joshi hoisted the Tricolour at Vidhan Bhawan and took salute of an impressive parade in the presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Transforming the state’s young into an educated and skilled work force, changes in the higher education system aimed at sensitising the youth towards human values and making them responsible citizens are some of the things Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi advocated in his Republic Day address on Saturday.
“We need to make several changes in our higher education system to transform our young population into an educated and skilled work force.
These should be such changes which will sensitise youth towards human values and make them responsible citizens, enhance their skills, make them creative and help them become self dependent, Mr. Qureshi said in his address.
Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt said the state was witnessing benefits of development-oriented policies and efforts to deal with Naxalism.
Sacrifices of the security forces and common people who lost their lives in Naxal violence will not go in vain, the Governor said as people ignored a boycott call by the rebels who had put up posters at some places opposing the celebrations.
Chief Minister Raman Singh hoisted the tricolour at Jagdalpur district headquarters amid tight security.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda asked people to eradicate social evils like female foeticide and graft and lay emphasis on empowerment of women to further accelerate the pace of development.
The 64th Republic Day was today celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm all over Madhya Pradesh.
The main function was held at Lal Parade Ground here where Governor Ram Naresh Yadav unfurled the national flag and took salute at a march past of various security forces.
Folk dances were presented on the occasion and at least 20 departments of the State Government displayed their tableaux.
Addressing celebrations at the historic Barabati stadium at Cuttack, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced Re one per kg rice scheme for the poor and steps to set up fast track courts for offences against women.
People living above poverty line in the backward KBK (undivided Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput) districts would also be provided Rs one kg rice under the scheme which would benefit over 58 lakh people, Patnaik said, adding the aim is to ensure a hunger-free Odisha and food security.
The 64th Republic Day was celebrated in West Bengal with the hoisting of the national tri-colour and a march past by contingents of the army, para-military forces and the police. Governor M K Narayanan hoisted the tricolour before taking the salute at the parade in Kolkata.
Bihar witnessed a major turnaround with improvement in law and order situation which is facilitating all-round development of the state, Governor Devanand Konwar said on Saturday.
“Due to positive efforts of the state government Bihar has witnessed all-round growth....the government is committed to bring the state among the front row of developed ones,” Mr. Konwar said after taking salute from marching contingent on 64th Republic Day.
The looming water crisis in many parts of Maharashtra found prominence in the Governor K Sankaranarayanan’s message at a function in Mumbai.
Saying that Maharashtra was witnessing acute drought in many parts, he said the government had taken several measures to counter water shortage, and Rs 414 crore had been disbursed so far for providing drinking water in affected areas.
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil who addressed a function in Naxal-hit Gadchiroli said Naxal problem has to be countered with development.
Goa Governor B V Wanchoo expressed concern over “sick and neurotic minds” perpetrating heinous crimes on innocent women and children in some parts of the country, including the state.
“People with sick and neurotic minds are perpetrating heinous crimes on our innocent women and children in some parts of the country, including Goa,” he said, addressing a gathering after inspecting the Republic Day parade in Panaji.
In Gujarat, the state function was this time held at Ahwa village in the tribal-dominated Dang district where Governor Dr Kamla Beniwal hoisted the tricolour.
“A small gram Panchayat like Ahwa hosting the state-level celebrations of 64th Republic Day...it is a historic feat for the country and highlights people’s strength. I congratulate them,” Mr. Modi said after the function.
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.
Contingents of police, Home guards, NCC and school children among others participated in the parades held at several district headquarters in the two states and their joint capital Chandigarh.
Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva unfurled the national flag at the Republic Day function in Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur.
Ms. 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.
Pomp and gaiety marked the 64th Republic Day celebrations in Tamil Nadu with Governor K Rosaiah hoisting the national flag at the main function here and inspecting an impressive parade.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa presented the annual customary Anna Medals for Gallantry, Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony Award, Gandhi Adigal Police medals and special awards on the occasion.
Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh said the Union territory has bigger chunk of women in the enrolment in the rural employment programme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
“Women account for 89 per cent in the total enrolment under the scheme in Puducherry which is only next to Kerala”, he said unfurling the national tricolour on the occasion of Republic day celebrations here.
Issues of development, welfare schemes and maintenance of peace and public order as pre-requisite for progress were highlighted by leaders in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu among others.
Andhra Pradesh Governor S L Narasimhan said the state has registered significant growth in various sectors in the first half of the current financial year.
Andhra Pradesh has posted a growth rate of 6.50 per cent in its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), as against the national average of 5.37 per cent, in the first half of 2012-13, he said while delivering the Republic Day address after unfurling the national tri-colour at Parade Ground in Hyderabad.
Observing that Kerala has been emerging as a fast growing state in the country, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said still there are some vital areas like agriculture and infrastructure development that required greater attention in the coming days.
In recent years, Kerala had been able to achieve a faster growth rate than the national average. “A quarter century back the growth rate was a mere two per cent, which rose steeply to 10.06 per cent by 2005-06. In 2011-12, Kerala had been able to achieve an enviable growth rate of 9.5 per cent,” he said.
In Karnataka, Governor H R Bhardwaj emphasised on protecting secularism which he said was the basis of the country’s existence and appealed to Parliament, Assemblies and Local Self Governance bodies to ensure debates touching the problems of the weaker sections of the society and the rural poor. “They deserve to get the justice, social and economic,” he said.