First time in 19 years flag not hoisted at Lal Chowk

Indiatimes

SRINAGAR: The national flag was not hoisted by security forces in Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of Srinagar, on the Republic Day today for the first time in 19 years.

The usual hustle and bustle was not there in the heart of the city as people preferred to remain indoors in view of strike call given by separatists as well as tight security measures taken by the authorities.

The tricolour used to be unfurled on the clock tower, popularly known here as “Ghantaghar” in Lal Chowk on the Republic Day and Independence Day since 1991.

The first time the flag was hoisted at the clock tower was in 1991 when then BJP President Murli Manohar Joshi did it amidst rocket attacks by militants.

No official reason was cited for not hoisting the national flag in Lal Chowk, which recently saw a 22-hour terrorist siege.

The authorities last evening eased security restrictions in the city to lessen inconvenience to the people. Police and paramilitary forces remained deployed in strength but checking of vehicles and frisking of pedestrians was restricted to a few places.

“We have not lowered the guard but several steps have been taken to avoid unnecessary harassment of the people. Instead of random checking at every half a km in the city, the vehicles were searched at a few places particularly at the entry points,” officials said yesterday.

However, tight security arrangements were made today in view of terror threat to the R-day function.

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