New Delhi: Amid unfurling of the tricolour and colourful parades, the Republic Day was on Saturday celebrated across the country peacefully with a boycott call by Naxal and northeastern 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 NN 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 time, 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 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 yesterday, including one at the first Manipur Rifles ground in Imphal where the Republic Day function is held, there was heavy security in place today 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 JB 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.
Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt said the state was witnessing benefits of development-oriented policies and efforts to deal with Naxalism.