SRINAGAR, India-controlled Kashmir, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) — The local government in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday organized official functions to mark India’s 67th Republic Day amid stepped up security vigil and shutdown called by separatist groups, officials said.
Two major functions were held in twin capital cities of the region-Srinagar and Jammu, where the contingents of police, paramilitary troopers, young cadets and school children marched past the Indian flag and staged performances to mark official celebrations.
The main function was held in Jammu city, the winter capital, where the region’s Governor N N Vohra hoisted the Indian tri-color and took the salute of march past in Maulana Azad Memorial stadium.
“India remains committed to maintaining friendly relations with all its neighbours and our Prime Minister has launched fresh initiatives for securing peaceful relations with Pakistan,” Vohra said in his address.
In Srinagar, a top civilian official of the local government unfurled the Indian flag and took the salute in highly secured Bakhshi stadium.
The official presided over the function in the wake of the governor’s rule in the region.
Security was beefed up in the region days before the celebrations to thwart possible attempts to disrupt the official functions.
Police and paramilitary troopers were deployed on roads across the region in full strength and bullet proof mobile bunker vehicles were also parked in the middle of the roads outside venues of official functions to sabotage any attack.
The Republic Day in India marks the date when India’s new republican constitution came into force on 1950. Every year the day is celebrated by India on Jan. 26. The main function was held in Indian capital New Delhi, where India’s cultural diversity was displayed along with military might.
French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.
A contingent of French soldiers marched along with Indian troops during the parade in New Delhi for the first time.
Though January 26 is an official holiday in the region, however a strike called by separatists affected the normal life in the restive region. Shops and businesses were shut while traffic was off the roads.
Reports said official functions were held at district headquarters as well.
The Authorities suspended the mobile telephony and internet signals during the Indian Republic day function for several hours.
A separatist movement and guerilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in India-controlled Kashmir since 1989.
Gunfight between militants and Indian troopers takes place intermittently in the restive region.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.