Jan 26: Amid drone surveillance, R-Day passes off peacefully in Kashmir

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Shops remain shut; authorities snap mobile internet for 7 Hrs; Social activists unfurl tri-colour atop Clock Tower Sgr; Omar mocks at pulling down national flag within few hours, terms it ‘unconstitutional’

Srinagar, Jan 26 : The 73rd Republic Day passed off peacefully across Kashmir amid heightened security measures and drone surveillance as no untoward incident was reported from any part of Valley.

The main highlight of the day remained unfurling of tri-colour atop Clock Tower, Lal Chowk in Srinagar, first time after 1992. However, the move evoked sharp criticism by the former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who stated that the flag was brought down within few hours which was unconstitutional.

Witnesses told news agency that police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men dotted city, especially roads leading towards the Republic Day function venues, to ensure that the function passes off peacefully. Main function in Srinagar was held at S K Stadium where Advisor to LG, RR Bhatnagar took salute of the parade and unfurled the tri-colour. “The function remained peaceful,” a police official said.

Witnesses said that shops remained shut in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir and a thin traffic movement was seen on the roads. Public remained almost off the roads while the private vehicles were seen plying normally.

Unlike last year, the authorities snapped the mobile internet services on all platforms for seven hours—7 am to 2 pm.

A group of social activists reached Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar) Lal Chowk, Srinagar and with the help of a crane unfurled tri-colour atop the Tower. This was firs time since 1992 when BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had unfurled tri-colour at Lal Chowk. However, the move evoked sharp criticism from none other than the National Conference vice-president and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah

Omar tweeted: “If you don’t know your Indian Flag Code then here is a bit of help. As far as possible display from sunrise to sunset” which means that it can be flown 24×7, 365 days a year as long as other provisions of the flag code are followed. He also tweeted: Also Sunset in Srinagar today is 5:55 PM & at the moment it’s 4:09 PM IST. Just in case you were wondering.” Omar’s tweets came as the flag was pulled down within few hours of hoisting.

Pertinently, the Republic Day functions were organized in all the districts across Jammu and Kashmir. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha presided over the main function in Jammu.

The Republic Day parade consisted of smart contingents from Army, BSF, CRPF, SSB, IRP (Women & Male), J&K Police, JKAP, UT Disaster Response Force, J&K Fire, and Emergency Services, J&K Forest Protection Force, Excise Department, Ex-Servicemen, NCC Boys and Girls, Bharat Scouts and Guides (Girls & Boys), besides several school contingents, Brass & Pipe Bands of Army, BSF, J&K Police, J&K Armed Police.

Moreover, District Development Council (DDC) chairpersons presided over the main functions in their respective districts while as the Block Development Council chairpersons and Presidents of Municipal bodies took salute in separate functions held at the concerned Sub-Divisional and Municipal headquarters. A senior police official told KNO all the R-Day functions passed off peacefully in Kashmir and there was no untoward incident anywhere