India on Tuesday celebrated its 72nd Republic Day, with a curtailed parade in New Delhi. Keeping the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the event was held with a host of precautionary measures in place. But even as dignitaries assembled to watch the tricolour be unfurled and the subsequent parade, not too far away, thousands of protesting farmers began clashing with the police.
For those who have not followed the news in recent days, farmers protesting outside the national capital for two months are marking Republic Day with a tractor rally to the national capital. While heavily opposed by the police and Central officials, a tentative route map had eventually been negotiated.
Here's everything that has happened today, summed up in 10 points:
1. The farmers' tractor rally to Delhi took a violent turn as the protesters broke through barricades and vandalised buses. Visuals shared by news agency ANI also showed the protesters atop tractors chasing down police officials who were on foot. The police in turn used water cannons and tear gas to oppose the farmers and in some places their efforts to move onwards was blocked by barricades. After a clash at the ITO, a group of protesters also reached the Red Fort. Reportedly, one protester has been killed.
2. As the protests intensify, many of the Delhi Metro stations' gates have been closed. As per updates shared by the Delhi Metro's Twitter handle, the entry and exit gates of stations including Delhi Gate, ITO, Indraprastha and Lal Quila metro stations, are closed. The gates of all stations on the green line are closed.
3. PM Modi broke security protocol to greet people after Republic Day parade. Soon after the conclusion of the parade, Modi walked on Rajpath, greeting and waving towards visitors seated on both sides of the road. Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, he waved and greeted people with
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi opted for a Namastey and waved them from a distance. The Prime Minister, encircled with his security posse, was seen waving at the crowd and addressing them with a 'Namastey'. Last year, the Prime Minister had also shaken hands with a few visitors.
4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore a special turban from Gujarat's Jamnagar at the 72nd Republic Day parade at Rajpath, continuing his tradition of donning unique headgears. The halari paghdi (royal turban) in shades of red with yellow dots was gifted to the PM by royal family of Jamnagar. Poonaben Maadam, the Jamnagar MP, tweeted that the traditional 'halari paghdi' represents the rich culture of the region. Modi paired the turban with a traditional kurta, pyjama, grey jacket along with a face mask.
5. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Australia's Scott Morrison, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and other world leaders have extended Republic Day greetings. "What a wonderful coincidence it is of our history that January 26 Australia Day is India's Republic Day! A national day shared between friends," Morrison said in a video message on Twitter.
6. The newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft featured for the first time in India's Republic Day flypast as it carried out the 'Brahmastra' formation alone and was part of the 'Eklavya' formation with four other fighter jets.
The fighter jet conducted Eklavya formation by flying at a height of around 300 meter along with two Jagaur and two MIG-29 aircraft. The five jets resembled a V shape with Rafale leading the pack. The 25,000 strong audience was able to see Rafale fighter jet again when it culminated the flypast by conducting the Brahmastra formation wherein it traversed at a low altitude for some distance, then pulled up vertically at 90 degrees and conducted rolls before stabilising at a higher altitude.
7. Another highlight from the Republic Day parade is the tableau put forth by the Union Territory of Ladakh. This is the first ever display put up by the UT since it came into existence in 2019 following the abrogation of Article 370. The tableau highlighted the 'Vision' for Ladakh to be carbon neutral and exemplary for the world. The tableau displayed composite culture and communal harmony besides art and architecture, languages and dialects, customs and costumes, fairs and festivals, literature, crafts and music of Ladakh.
(With inputs from agencies)