Republic Day 2021 LIVE Updates: PM extends greetings to nation; Delhi set to witness farmers' proposed rally

07:47 (IST)

Smaller crowds, no chief guest: What to expect from Republic Day this year 

India is all set to display its military might during the annual parade 26 January (Tuesday). However, this year's parade will be different from previous years as it is for the first time that it will be held amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath today are likely to see a number of changes including smaller marching contingents, shorter distance for the parade and fewer spectators compared to the previous years.

India will mark its 72nd Republic Day this year, and it will be the first major public event in since the COVID-19 outbreak.

This is also the second year in a row that the parade will be held under the shadow of protests. In 2020, the parade was held under raging protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

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07:30 (IST)

Farmers' rally testimony to celebration of Republic, constitutional ethos: Punjab CM 

Calling the tractor parade on Republic Day a "testimony to the celebration of the Indian Republic and its constitutional ethos", Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Monday appealed to the farmers to ensure that it remains peaceful, just like their anti-farm law protests.

"Peace has been the hallmark of your (farmers') democratic protests all these months, and should remain integral to your agitation in the days ahead, including the R-Day tractor rally into the National Capital," the chief minister said in his Republic Day eve message.

07:28 (IST)

PM extends greetings on Republic Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took to Twitter to extend greetings on Republic Day ahead of the farmers' tractor parade amid COVID-19 protocols. The National Capital is under high security as the city would be witnessing two big events - Republic Day celebrations and a farmers' tractor parade.

Republic Day 2021 LATEST Updates: Thousands of armed personnel have been deployed at the Rajpath and several border points of the National Capital which has been brought under a multi-layered security cover in view of Republic Day celebrations as well as the proposed tractor parade by farmers on Tuesday.

Protesting farmer unions opposing the three contentious farm laws said their parade will not enter central Delhi and it will start only after the official Republic Day parade concludes.

The unions claimed that around two lakh tractors are expected to participate in their parade which will move into the city from three border points – Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur (UP Gate).

For Republic Day celebrations, an official said around 6,000 security personnel have been deployed to maintain vigil. Facial recognition system of Delhi Police has also been set up at vantage points for suspect identification, the official said.

Checking and frisking staff deployed at Rajghat will be done by personnel in PPE kits, with mask and face shield, keeping in line with COVID-19 protocols, an official said.

On Tuesday, sharpshooters and snipers will be deployed on top of high-rise buildings to keep watch on the eight-km-long parade route from Rajpath.

A five-layer security cover comprising of border pickets, inner, middle and outer security has been deployed in and around the city to maintain law and order during the Republic Day ceremony and the proposed tractor parade, a senior police officer said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal said more than 6,000 police personnel will be deployed at Rajpath for Republic day celebrations.

Following COVID protocols, only 25,000 people will be allowed to attend the ceremony at Rajpath as opposed to over one lakh spectators who usually attended the event every year, he said.

The parade will also be shorter this year. Instead of marching up to Red Fort, the parade will end at National Stadium and only the tableaux will be allowed to perform at Red Fort, he also said.

"We have 140 CCTV cameras across Republic Day parade route and along with the enclosures. We have identified and set up facial recognition system at 30 identified spots at the Rajpath from where the public would enter.

"This system is fed with a database of nearly over 50,000 people including that of suspected terrorists, criminals and anti-social elements," said another senior police officer.

To maintain law and order during the farmers' tractor parade, thousands of security personnel have been already deployed at several border points.

Deependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence), claimed on Sunday that over 300 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan to disrupt the tractor parade.

In a circular, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivastava directed all officers and personnel, as well as Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), posted for the Republic Day Parade security arrangements to be prepared for an extended deployment to maintain law and order in the wake of the tractor parade.

"Over 300 Twitter handles have been generated from Pakistan during January 13 to 18 to disrupt the tractor rally by farmers by misleading people. There are inputs about the same from different agencies too.

"It will be a challenging task for us but the rally will be conducted amid tight security after the Republic Day parade is over," Pathak had said at a press conference.

Farmer leaders have appealed to those participating in the tractor parade to carry enough ration for 24 hours and ensure that the rally remains peaceful.

"No one should carry any weapon or drink alcohol. Banners carrying inciting messages are not allowed," a farmer leader said.

Those starting from the Singhu border will traverse Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Bawana, Qutabgarh, Auchandi border and Kharkhoda toll plaza. The entire route will be 63 kilometres long.

The 62-km long second route, starting from the Tikri border, will pass through Nagloi, Najafgarh, Jharoda border and Rohtak bypass and Asoda toll plaza, the farmer leaders said.

Tractors starting from Ghazipur will drive through Apsara border, Hapur Road and Lal Kuan. Covering 68 kilometres, it is the longest route for the march.

The farmer leaders will be on the frontline in their cars.

All vehicles will have to return to the originating place. No one will try and stop midway without a valid reason, the farmer leaders said. Each tractor will carry a tricolour and there will be folk music and patriotic songs.

Enacted in September last year, the three farm laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their products anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of minimum support price and do away with the 'mandi' (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

from Firstpost India Latest News