Kashmir to Kerala, Tricolour soars as country marks Republic Day.

Soldiers braved freezing temperatures to unfurl the Tricolour at India’s border outposts, security personnel exchanged sweets with their Pakistani and Bangladeshi counterparts, and paramilitary forces celebrated with local villagers deep inside a Maoist hotbed as the 74th Republic Day was marked with pomp and zeal across India on Thursday.

In every state capital, the government marked the occasion with official ceremonies, and in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, two states that go to the polls later this year, the chief ministers announced sops for local residents.

Videos shared by paramilitary forces showed troops celebrating with the national flag in Ladakh and various outposts along the International border in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian Army jawans exchanged sweets and greetings with their Pakistani counterparts at forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

A video shared by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) showed jawans celebrating with local residents in the Maoist hotbed of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh.

“First time ever: Republic Day was celebrated in Potakpalli located in the remote region of Sukma, Chhattisgarh after CRPF established a forward operating base less than a year back,” the force tweeted. “Local residents gleefully joined the festivities to create history.”

The Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers exchanged sweets and greetings at various outposts along the International Border in Jammu. The exchange of sweets took place at border outposts in Akhnoor, Samba, Kathua, Arnia and RS Pura in a cordial manner, a BSF official said.

In the Fulbari region of West Bengal’s Siliguri, BSF also exchanged sweets with Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) at the India-Bangladesh border.

Across states and Union territories, the day was observed by calling upon the people to reaffirm the pledge to the Constitution.

In Chhattisgarh, chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said unemployed young people in the state will be given a monthly allowance from the next financial year. “The amount is yet to be finalised and a team is working on it,” said a senior official of the Chhattisgarh government. The CM also announced financial assistance of 50,000 to construction workers registered with the state government and 10,000 for each gram panchayat to organise tribal festivals in Bastar and Surguja divisions and scheduled areas from next financial year.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the right to land for landless people and regularisation of illegally built homes. “Every landless person living in the state would get a plot of land and for this, the Chief Minister’s Residential Land Rights Scheme has been started,” he said in Jabalpur.

He also promised that the government will pay the tuition fees of meritorious students whose annual family income is less than 8 lakh, and announced several infrastructure projects such as building Narmada Parikrama Path.

Elections in the two states will be held in November-December along with Rajasthan .

In Assam, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma urged members of separatist group ULFA(I) to return to the mainstream and be a part of the development process. “Once they come for talks, Assam will transform into an island of peace,” Sarma said in his Republic-Day speech in Guwahati.

He also mentioned peace accords with Bodo, Karbi and Adivasi groups in the last few years, which he said had ensured a return of peace to the state. Referring to the implementation of clauses of the Bodo peace accord, Sarma announced that villages with 80% or more of its inhabitants in Dhekiajuli, Sootea, Gohpur and neighbouring areas will be brought under the Bodoland Territorial Region.

The Assam CM also announced a 300-crore project to develop the Kamakhya Temple into a top religious tourism destination.

In Maharashtra, a total of 189 inmates were released from various prisons on the occasion of Republic Day, an official said. This included 35 people each from the central prisons in Nashik and Nagpur, 20 from Yerawada Central Jail in Pune, 16 from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, 11 from Thane Central Jail and four from Mumbai Central Prison (Arthur Road Jail), a prisons department spokesperson said.

In Tamil Nadu, governor RN Ravi said external forces and certain groups “uncomfortable with the rise of new India” are “unleashing terror” to disrupt the country’s growth and harmony, and chief minister MK Stalin appealed to the people to eradicate social evils that tend to divide the masses.

Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan praised the state government led by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for working on the vision of a “Navakeralam” by addressing key areas such as agriculture and environment, housing, health care and education.

Khan said Kerala’s top position in the latest Performance Grading Index (PGI) of the Union ministry of education, the progress in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals and the effective management of decentralised planning were widely appreciated.

In Uttarakhand, governor Gurmit Singh and chief minister Puskhar Singh Dhami honoured the four first responders who came to the aid of Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant after his car crash on December 30. Pant had a miraculous escape when his luxury car crashed into the road divider and caught fire on the Delhi-Dehradun Highway.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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