Beating Retreat cancelled after Venkataraman death (Lead)

January 27th, 2009 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) For the second time in the history of India, the annual Beating Retreat ceremony, the grand finale to the Republic Day celebrations, was called-off Tuesday following the demise of former president R. Venkataraman, officials said.Besides Beating Retreat, which symbolises the return of troops to their barracks, National Cadet Corps Prime Minister’s rally has also been cancelled.

“In view of the passing away of former president Venkataraman here today (Tuesday), some remaining ceremonies relating to the Republic Day Celebrations such as Beating Retreat and PM’s NCC Rally have been cancelled,” a defence ministry statement said.

Venkataraman died at the Army Research and Referral Hospital on Tuesday following prolonged illness. He was 98. He was the eighth president of the country serving from 1987 to 1992.

Beating Retreat is held Jan 29 after the Republic Day every year in Delhi, where bands of army, navy and air force play traditional marching tunes.

The full dress rehearsal of the Beating Retreat Tuesday was called off midway as soon as the news of the death of the former president came in.

Since India became a republic in 1950 this is the second time the Beating Retreat has been cancelled. Earlier, the ceremony was cancelled for the first time in 2001 in the wake of the Jan 26 Gujarat earthquake.

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