Srinagar: Kashmir Valley and especially Srinagar wore a deserted look on Republic Day while official celebrations were held at Bakhshi Stadium here on Thursday amid heavy snowfall.
The Republic Day parade was conducted in front of Divisional Commissioner Baseer Khan, who unfurled the tricolour inside thestadium. District magistrates hoisted the national flag in their respective district headquarters but none of the state ministers could attend any of these functions.
The ministers could not travel to Kashmir from Jammu in view of the bad weather as all land and air traffic remained suspended.
Srinagar’s Bakhshi stadium was turned into a virtual garrison for the Republic day celebrations. A multiple security cover safeguarded the area.
According to eye-witnesses, scores of school children participated in the event parade, despite the biting cold and snowfall. A few participants, the eye-witnesses said, passed out during the event, apparently due to the cold weather.
A cultural show was held after the Divisional Commissioner hoisted the national flag. The function was attended by top officials of the police, civil administration and military.
Large contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deployed in and around Srinagar city, especially on roads leading to Bakhshi Stadium. In the evening, Inspector-General of Police Javid Gilani said, “The situation remained peaceful during the day.”
Owing to the strike call given by pro-freedom leaders, normal life remained disrupted across Kashmir. The majority of shops, offices and business establishments remained shut. Public transport also remained off the roads. Only a few private transport vehicles were seen plying on roads. Vehicular movement increased later during the day after 4 pm.
In the past, the administration would block all mobile telephony and data services in Kashmir as a security measure on the eve of Republic Day. But like last year, this year too, the authorities did not snap mobile and data services.
Pre-paid mobile data services, however, remained shut as they have been since July.