Republic turns 60, pays homage to martyrs | india | Hindustan Times
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Republic turns 60, pays homage to martyrs

Unprecedented security, the shortest-ever parade and the defence minister filling in for the prime minister marked the 60th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, reports Ritika Chopra.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2009 23:59 IST
Ritika Chopra

Unprecedented security, the shortest-ever parade and the defence minister filling in for the prime minister marked the 60th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

The Fifth Battalion of the Parachute Regiment marching to kadam kadam badhaye ja (march on) led the parade on Monday, one of the warmest Republic Day ever as Defence Minister A.K. Antony filled in for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recuperating from a bypass surgery.

The diverse culture of the country and the strides made in the fields of science and industry came alive on Rajpath as 18 tableaux, representing 12 states and six ministries/-departments, rolled along.

Motorcycle-borne daredevils got the adrenaline going and the air show put up by the air force capped the rush.

The camel-mounted troops of the Border Security Force made the perfect backdrop for Kazakh journalists who took some time off to get pictures clicked. Their President Nursultan Nazarbayev was the chief guest at this year’s celebrations. Earlier, President Pratibha Patil presented 11 Ashok Chakras, all posthumously. Six of recipients had died fighting terrorist in the Mumbai attacks.

From the states

The Republic Day was celebrated in all the state capitals with the usual fanfare.

In the insurgency affected states of North-East and Jammu and Kashmir, the day passed off peacefully despite calls of boycott.

In Chhattisgarh, Naxalites torched 28 vehicles.

Though Maharashtra celebrated the day under the shadow of the 26/11 attacks, there was a sense of pride as a number of policemen were honoured with gallantry awards.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunandhi was hospitalised with severe back pain and had to skip the function.

Tricolour at Antarctica

All the 41 members of the country’s 28th expedition to the icy continent of Antarctica celebrated the day by unfurling the Tricolour at Larsemann Hills, the site for country’s third station. Talking to HT from Antarctica, expedition leader Ajay Dhar said, “Since yesterday noon, the weather was cloudy and windy. Luckily, by 10 this morning, it cleared up.”

(With inputs from Satyen Mohapatra, agencies)