Jammu celebrates I-Day with vigour

August 15th, 2008 - 2:02 pm ICT by IANS  


Jammu, Aug 15 (IANS) India’s Independence Day brought residents of this Jammu and Kashmir winter capital onto the streets Friday to hoist the tricolour despite rains, while a thinly attended official function was held at the Parade Ground under heavy security. With umbrellas in their hands and chanting “Bharat Mata ki jai”, people from all walks of life, many of them women, turned out at flag hoisting ceremonies in virtually every locality in this city of one million.

“It is our national festival today, and it is time to celebrate,” said Vimla Devi of Pacca Danga, where people delayed visits to temples for the Independence Day celebrations.

The governor’s advisor, S.S. Bloeria, was the chief guest at the official function at the Parade Ground, where the police threw a security ring using buses. Policemen were on the rooftops around the venue and along the roads leading to the ground.

Barring a few officials and a few former Congress ministers, no political leader was seen at the venue. The National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party were conspicuous by their absence.

The Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti organised a parallel Independence Day celebration at the Mubarak-Mandi complex - the seat of the government during Dogra rule.

Men, women and children marched to the venue with the tricolour in their hands. All the routes to the venue were decorated with the tricolour.

“It is a moment of truth for us,” said Vidya Sagar, a resident of Gandhi Nagar. “Our elders sacrificed their lives to get us freedom. Today, we are engaged in a struggle for the freedom of our land from those who want to insult our faith.”

Jammu has been on the boil for the past two months over the government’s flip-flop in transferring land to the Amarnath shrine board.

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