Regional

Republic Day celebrated across North East states

Correspondent/IANS IMPHAL/Shillong/Agartala/Itanagar, Jan 26 | Publish Date: 1/26/2019 12:17:04 PM IST
North east state of India Saturday celebrated 70th Republic Day amidst calls of boycott from student bodies, civil organisations to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and underground groups. 
In Manipur, the Republic Day celebration was largely peaceful except the explosion of an IED in Imphal in the afternoon. 
The IED, suspected to have been planted by insurgents, went off on the roadside near BRTF Officers’ Club premises at Lamphel in Imphal West district, around 12.50 pm. However, no casualty was reported.
Except the blast, no other violent incident was reported during Republic Day celebrations which were held in Imphal and other parts of the state amid the shutdowns and boycotts calls given by various insurgent groups.
Besides the rebel sponsored strikes, prominent civil society organisations (CSOs) and student bodies had called for a boycott of Republic Day celebrations and related events in Manipur to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
The main function was held in Imphal’s Kangla fort where state Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla took the salute from police, military and other contingents. A slim public participation was witnessed in the state level celebration function which was held under tight security measures.
State chief minister N Biren Singh, opposition leader and former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, ministers, MLAs and top officials of state police, civil and central security forces were present.
The Governor took salute from 73 marching contingents including nine band contingents and various school contingents led by assistant director Thaimei Gaipuiril Kabui of Manipur Police Training College (MPTC). 
Speaking at the programme, chief minister N Biren Singh reiterated his government’s stand against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. “The state government will not remain silent if there are any elements in the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that will cause threat to the indigenous people of Manipur,” he said.
The chief minister appealed to the people to thoroughly study the contents of the bill before resorting to any forms of protests. 
He said that if Centre indulged in any act against the interest of the people of the state, legislators in the ruling coalition government would be the first to take appropriate decision against it.
In Meghalaya, Governor Tathagata Roy appealed to all the citizens of the State to hold steadfastly to the ideals and principles of democracy as the scenic state celebrated Republic Day.
“Being fully aware that violence is never the way out for any problem, we should always resort to solve problems through meaningful dialogue and peaceful engagement,” he said after unfurling the Indian flag and taking the salute at a ceremonial parade here.
Noting that law and order situation in the State is by and large peaceful, Roy said, “The overall internal security situation has also significantly improved over the last one year. We must now take this opportunity and redouble our efforts to ensure durable peace and sustained development in the state.
He said all measures are being taken to ensure safety and security for all the citizens, with particular emphasis on combating crimes against women and children and human trafficking.
Instructions have been issued for expeditious investigation into cases relating to these matters, the Governor said.
In Mizoram, Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan on Saturday addressed an almost-empty ground here on the 70th Republic Day, due to a statewide boycott call given by an umbrella organisation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
No member from the general public attended the function, police said adding that only ministers, legislators and top officials were present.
The boycott call was given by the NGO Coordination Committee, an organisation of civil society groups and student bodies.
Six armed contingents participated in the Republic Day parade, officials said. Up to 30 contingents traditionally take part in the annual event.
In other district headquarters, the deputy commissioners unfurled the tricolour in the absence of senior officials and public, as was the case in sub-divisional and block headquarters.
However, the Republic Day celebrations passed off peacefully without any untoward incident, despite the presence of placard-carrying protesters near the venues, police said.
In Tripura, Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki on Saturday urged the people to help make Tripura a model state. “The Tripura government has taken a series of steps to make Tripura a model state within the next few years. All sections of the people should support the state government’s endeavour,” the Governor said after unfurling the national flag at the ceremonial function at the Assam Rifles ground here.
He said that to curb corruption and to provide transparent governance, the state government has been utilising various technologies in a large number of schemes, projects and services.
Solanki said Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has also undertaken a vigorous mission to make the state a “drug free”.
“During the past 10 months, 67,000 kg cannabis has been seized in different parts of the state. With the curbing of drug related activities, general crime and violence against women were also reduced to a substantial extent,” he said.
“To undertake a white revolution in the state, the Chief Minister has already announced to provide 5,000 cows to 10,000 families for their economic empowerment and also to make availability of milk in the state.”
The Governor also spoke about the state government’s plan to implement 10 per cent reservation for women in the police department.
In Arunachal Pradesh, Governor Brigadier B.D. Mishra (Retd.) appealed to the people of the state to cooperate and offer their land willingly whenever required in public interest.
After unfurling the national flag and taking the salute at the parade at the Indira Gandhi Park here, he emphasised on road and air connectivity and urged the citizens to think and act in the larger interest of the people, discarding individual benefits and to allow developmental projects to take off without raising objections
Mishra also remembered the sacrifices made by freedom fighters and the valiant soldiers who guard the borders.
The Governor said that the nation, despite numerous challenges, has emerged stronger and reinforced on the strength of democratic institutions and values.
In his speech, Mishra also highlighted the achievements of the state government during the last one year in various fields, including education, health, agriculture and allied sectors, road connectivity, civil aviation, hydropower, water supply, sanitation, social justice, women and child development, sports, public security and law and order.
“We have successfully conducted the Arunachal Transformational and Aspirational Leaders Conclave to deliberate on the issues,” he said
The state government has distributed free LPG connections to 26,818 beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, the Governor added.

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