NEW DELHI: Colourful Republic Day parades capturing India's diversity were held across the country on Sunday as states listed out their achievements and outlined development agendas, but the occasion was marred in upper Assam by four back-to-back explosions, claimed by the banned ULFA (I).
The celebrations were held amid tight security across the country.
Anti-CAA protesters at several places unfurled the Tricolour, formed human chains and took pledges to protect the Constitution. Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP MLA Angoorlata Deka were shown black flags by anti-CAA protesters at separate locations in the state when they were on their way to attend functions.
This was the first Republic Day for Jammu & Kashmir after its special status was withdrawn on August 5 last year and the erstwhile state was divided into two union territories.
Lt Governor G C Murmu unfurled the national flag at the main function in Jammu. In Kashmir, the day was celebrated amidst tight security with authorities suspending mobile services till evening. The main event was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, where LG's advisor Khan presided over the function, but most mainstream politicians stayed away.
The national capital was also under a multi-layer, ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel, aided by dozens of drones and hundreds of CCTV cameras and facial recognition devices, keeping a tight vigil.
Anti-CAA protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh unfurled the national flag, sang the national anthem amid the chants of "CAA se Azaadi, NRC se Azaadi, BJP se Azaadi (freedom from CAA, NRC and BJP)".
In Uttar Pradesh, 71 contingents comprising the army, paramilitary, police personnel and schoolchildren marched through the streets.
In Kolkata, an interfaith group of people came out on the streets and formed human chains in various parts of the city as a mark of protest against the CAA.
Four explosions -- 3 in Dibrugarh and one in Charaideo districts -- rocked Upper Assam between 8.15 and 8.25 am, a police officer said.
There were no casualties, he said. The banned outfit ULFA (Independent) claimed responsibility for the explosions.
In southern states, the day was celebrated with pomp and show.
In Telangana, governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said in her speech that the state stood first in many sectors, but it was lagging behind in literacy and the government will soon announce an action-plan to make the state fully literate.
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi hoisted the Tricolour and read the Preamble of the Constitution in the old city of Hyderabad, party sources said.
In Kerala, leading the celebrations, governor Arif Mohammed unfurled the national flag at the state-level celebration.
Mosques under the Wakf Board and Latin churches hoisted the national flag and read out the Preamble to the Constitution after the routine prayer.
A 620-km-long human chain from Kasaragod in north Kerala to Kaliyakkavilai in the southernmost part of the state was formed by the CPM-led Left Democratic Front, demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit led the celebrations in the state, unfurling the national flag at the Marina.
Andhra Pradesh is poised to march on the path of inclusive growth through decentralisation of administration, governor Biswabhusan Harichandan said.
The day was celebrated with fanfare in Karnataka with an eye-catching march past, cultural events and breathtaking stunts by the defence personnel.
In Maharashtra, a horse-mounted police unit, introduced in Mumbai after 88 years, and tableaux on various themes, including environment and wildlife, were part of the 71st Republic Day parade held at Shivaji Park....