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A peaceful R-Day in Kashmir

By Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar
January 26, 2007 20:09 IST
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Unprecedented security marked this year's Republic Day functions in Kashmir, which on passed off without any untoward incident.

The main Republic Day parade and flag hoisting ceremony was held at the heavily fortified Bakshi stadium in the heart of summer capital Srinagar. After hoisting the tri-colour at the Bakshi stadium, the minister appealed to the various militant groups to shun the path of violence and join the dialogue process that has been started by the government.

As state agriculture minister Abdul Aziz Zargar inspected the parade, security vehicles obstructed roads leading to the stadium in order to thwart militant attempts to disrupt the function.

"All the functions connected with the Republic Day across Kashmir passed off peacefully. We had made exhaustive arrangements for the security of the venues in the valley," said a senior police officer.

Entry into the stadium was highly regulated with entry passes and metal detector door frames. Various separatist groups had called for a general strike, which completely paralyzed normal life in Kashmir on Friday. The summer capital, wore a deserted look and even private transport remained off the roads.

The Republic day functions were held at all the district and Tehsil headquarters in Kashmir this morning. Security forces had occupied all high-rise buildings around the venue of the main parade. Sharp shooters and sniffer dogs were also deployed to augment the vigil across Srinagar.
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Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar