Karnataka celebrates Independence Day

Bangalore, Aug 15 : Karnataka Friday celebrated the 68th Independence Day with patriotic fervour, gaiety and a spirit of freedom gripping the state after the tri-colour was hoisted and the national anthem sung. In this tech hub, on a sunny day with cool breeze wafting, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah unfurled the national flag and reviewed the guard of honour at the Field Marshal Manekshaw parade ground in the city centre amid tight security.

Even as Siddaramaiah took the salute and martial music rent the air, an army chopper showered rose petals flying from a low altitude over the flower-decked dais, drawing loud cheers from about 10,000 people thronging the venue to witness the colourful event. After the chief minister’s speech, about 2,000 personnel representing the three services, police, home guards, fire brigade, scouts, guides and 3,000 students from various schools across the city staged a march past, drawing applause from the audience, including a few freedom fighters, dignitaries and officials.

Rendering patriotic songs in Kannada and Hindi, invoking motherland, staging the first war of independence, enacting the freedom struggle, performing cultural shows and demonstrating martial arts, the participants treated the huge gathering for over two hours. Daring feats and acrobatics on motorcycles by the military and police teams kept the crowds spellbound.

Later, the chief minister presented Independence Day medals and awards to police officers and distributed prizes to the participating organisations. Heightened security measures and strict vigil turned the venue into a fortress. Located in the heart of the city across the famous Cubbon Park and popular hangouts like M.G. Road and Brigade Road in downtown, the sprawling Parade ground was sanitised for the event.

About 1,800 personnel drawn from various contingents were deployed in and around the ground to prevent any untoward incident and ensure the event was held peacefully. Police across the city were also on high alert as part of the security drill with reinforcements at vital installations and in sensitive areas.

About 40 CCTV cameras were installed in and around the venue to monitor movement of people, participants and dignitaries. Metal detectors were installed at entry points around the venue for frisking and preventing people from carrying banned items. According to reports from other parts of the state, the Independence Day fete was celebrated peacefully with state ministers hoisting the national flag, reviewing the guard of honour and participating in various cultural shows at district headquarters.