New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) The nation celebrated its 72nd Independence Day on Wednesday with gaiety and fervour, as thousands of people thronged the iconic Red Fort to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation.
People from various walks of life started gathering at the Red Fort since early hours of Wednesday to secure their place, so they could witness the grand event here.
Despite waiting in long queues and walking a good distance to get to the main venue, people were full of enthusiasm, complying with the elaborate security measures that were put in place, in view of the event.
Modi reached the iconic Red Fort after paying tribute to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
A 21 gun salute followed in, as the band played the national anthem, while Mr Modi unfurled the Tricolour at the ramparts of the Red Fort and the Guard presented the national salute.
He was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding Delhi area to the saluting base.
In the vibrant atmosphere, the Prime Minister addressed the nation, fifth time in a row, wherein he spoke about many recent developments in the country in various spheres, while also mentioning about the problems of poor and the downtrodden and the measures taken for their upliftment.
Modi delivered his address without any bullet proof enclosure around him and donned a saffron turban this time with a white Kurta.
After completing his address, the Prime Minister met the school children, who, dressed in the national flag’s colours, sat in front of the PM’s podium in the ‘Bharat’ formation and cheered for Mr Modi.
The Prime Minister interacted with the children, who looked very happy on meeting him.
The children also included Divyangs, who also attended the festivities, while special attendants were also appointed for them, who would take care and help them to understand better the whole proceedings.
Tricolour balloons were released in the air, as the Prime Minister departed from the venue, after meeting the children.
Special interpreters were also present, who explained what the PM said in his address to the people using signs.
On the occasion, the Defence Minister, the Home Minister and three Defence services chiefs were also present, among other Union Cabinet Ministers.
Former Prime Ministers Dr Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP chief Amit Shah were present.
Massive security arrangements were put in place at the venue, which included multiple layers of security having various agencies as part of it.
Routes were closed around the Red Fort for normal traffic and only authorised vehicles with labels were allowed to enter the restricted roads during the event.
Teams of special commandos and paramilitary forces were deployed in and around the Red Fort premises for securing the event.
To keep a sharp eye on the areas and all the activities around the venue, police had installed additional CCTV cameras, along with deployment of extra force with special units.
Sharp shooters were stationed at all high rise buildings in the vicinity, to keep a vigil on the area.
Roof tops of the Buildings facing the Red Fort in the surrounding area of old Delhi markets were also secured by the security agencies, while roads heading towards the Red Fort were restricted and people were not allowed access after a while when the venue was full, keeping in view the safety and security aspects.
Every vehicle and person was thoroughly checked during entry into the venue and many had to return, who did not comply with security parameters.