Sun, 26 January 2020
5 detained at JLF for raising anti-CAA slogans
22:09 5 detained at JLF for raising anti-CAA slogans
Five people were detained for raising slogans against the amended citizenship law during a session at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in Jaipur, police said.
They were released following a warning to not repeat such act in future, the police said.
A group of activists, holding a tambourine, shouted slogans against the new citizenship law, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath during a session at the fest.
In a video, purportedly of the protest, which circulated on social media, the activists are seen shouting slogans like 'Modi-Shah ko ek jawab, Inquilab Zindabad', 'CAA down-down', 'Amit Shah ho Barbad, Modi-Yogi Murdabad' and 'Hum Lekar Rahege Azadi'.
Police teams at the spot took the activists outside the JLF premises where they continued shouting slogans.
Five of the activists were detained and taken to the Ashok Nagar police station for interrogation, DCP (South) Yogesh Dadich said. -- PTI
21:30 EU Parliament to debate anti-CAA resolution
The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on a resolution tabled by some of its members against India's Citizenship Amendment Act, which it says marks a 'dangerous shift' in the country's citizenship regime.
The resolution, tabled by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group in the Parliament earlier this week, is set to be debated next Wednesday and voted on the day after.
It makes a reference to the Charter of the United Nations, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as the India-EU Strategic Partnership Joint Action Plan signed in November 2005, and to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights as it urges the Indian authorities to 'engage constructively' with those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and consider their demands to repeal the 'discriminatory CAA'.
'The CAA marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering,' it notes.
'Instead of addressing the concerns, offering corrective action, calling for security forces to act with restraint and ensuring accountability, many government leaders have been engaging in efforts to discredit, rebuke and threaten the protesters,' the resolution states.
The CAA came into force in India last December amid protests in India and around the world.
The Indian government has stressed that the new Act does not deny any citizenship rights but has been brought in to protect the oppressed minorities of neighbouring countries and provide them citizenship.
As background, the resolution sets out that since the May 2019 election, the government of India has 'reinforced its nationalistic orientation' as it also makes a reference to the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, which removed the special constitutional status of the region.
The draft resolution, which falls under the category of 'Resolutions on topical subjects', expresses deep concern that India has "created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims of the fundamental right of equal access to citizenship' and that the CAA could be used, along with the National Register of Citizens, to 'render many Muslim citizens stateless'.
It seeks to remind the Indian government of its obligations under the 1992 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which establishes the obligation of countries to protect the existence and identity of religious minorities within their territories and to adopt appropriate measures to ensure that this is achieved.
Such a resolution, which has been characterised under the 'Relations with Asian countries' section by the economic bloc, are used as a basis for engagement of EU member countries with specific nations.
If it is passed next week, it will be formally sent to the Indian government and Parliament as well as to the European Commission chiefs. -- PTI
21:05 Pondy CM, ministers exit Bedi's 'At Home' reception in huff
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and his ministers left an 'At Home' reception hosted by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Sunday, in a huff allegedly unhappy over not being informed in advance about a programme to honour Padma award winners.
Bedi held the 'At Home' reception on the lawns of Raj Nivas here on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day, which was attended by Narayanasamy, Welfare Minister M Kandasamy, Speaker V P Sivakolundhuand others.
While Kandasamy first left the venue within 10 minutes of commencement of the reception, the chief minister and others followed him raising eyebrows among the audience.
Sources told PTI that the chief minister was 'irked' by taking him and his colleagues by surprise by having a programme to honour the Padma award winners without prior information and hence left the venue after attending the reception for a few minutes.
He was also seen airing his anger to an official of Raj Nivas before leaving the venue.
Earlier, cultural teams from Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh presented dance programmes.
The Lt Governor felicitated Manoj Das from Puducherry who won the Padma Bhushan award for literature and Education.
Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar, Secretaries, French Consul General Catherine Suard, Vice Chancellor of Pondicherry University Gurmeet Singh and legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party were among those who attended the reception. -- PTI
20:18 50,000 gather at India Gate; metro stations shut
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Sunday said the entry and exit gates of five metro stations near the India Gate were closed in the evening to ease rush of passengers on the Republic Day.
Around 50,000 people gathered near the historic structure on the occasion, officials said.
'Entry & exit gates of Udyog Bhawan & Central Secretariat have been closed. Interchange facility will be available at Central Secretariat.
'Entry & exit gates of Khan Market, Supreme Court and Mandi House have been closed. Interchange facility will be open at Mandi House,' the DMRC tweeted.
Rajpath, India Gate, C-Hexagon, the venue for the majestic Republic Day Parade turned into a picnic spot for thousand of revellers by afternoon. -- PTI
19:43 Mobile phone services in Kashmir restored
Mobile phone services were restored in Kashmir on Sunday hours after being suspended as a precautionary measure for ensuring an incident-free Republic Day celebration in the Valley, officials said.
"The mobile telephone services were restored at 4.00 pm across Kashmir," one of the officials said.
However, the mobile Internet services remain suspended, they said.
Suspension of mobile phone and internet services on Republic Day and Independence Day have been part of the security drill in the Valley since 2005 when militants used a mobile phone to trigger an IED blast near the venue of Independence day celebrations.
On Saturday, hours after low-speed mobile internet was restored in Kashmir, authorities again snapped services, citing security reasons in view of Republic Day.
Mobile Internet was restored after being suspended nearly six months ago in the wake of the Centre's decision to revoke Article 370, but the service could only be used to access 301 websites approved by the administration, the officials said. -- PTI
19:23 Delhi building collapse: Owner held
Police have arrested the owner of an under-construction building in northeast Delhi's Bhajanpura that collapsed on Saturday, killing four students and his brother, officials said on Sunday.
The accused, Shankar Kashyap, was running a tuition centre in the building for the last three-four years.
Five persons, including four minor students, were killed after two floors of the under-construction building housing the tuition centre collapsed.
Umesh Kashyap, the brother of the building owner, was also among the victims.
Around 30 students, all minors, were attending classes at the coaching centre when the two upper floors of the four-storey building collapsed, trapping them under the debris, the officials said.
The fourth floor of the building was under construction and did not have a roof, they added. -- PTI
18:53 Jinnah's win would be complete if...: Tharoor
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said that Pakistan's founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah's victory will be completed if the Citizenship (Amendment) Act leads to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in which a large section of the population would be deprived of its rights if it fails to prove its citizenship.
On being asked about his reported remark that 'CAA implementation would be the fulfillment of Jinnah's two-nation theory' at the Jaipur Literature Festival, Tharoor said, "I would not say Jinnah has won but he is winning."
He added, "If CAA would lead to NPR and NRC that would pursue the same line. If that happens, you can say that Jinnah's victory is complete. From wherever Jinnah is, he would say he was right that Muslims deserve a separate country because Hindus can't be just towards the Muslims."
Jinnah was a strong votary of the two-nation theory which says that Hindus and Muslims are two separate peoples belonging to two different religious philosophies, with different social customs and literature.
The CAA grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. It conspicuously omits Muslims from the list of refugees. -- ANI
17:57 EU lawmakers' group drafts anti-CAA motion
More than 150 lawmakers of the European Union have drafted a five-page resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act, contending that it "marks a dangerous shift in the way citizenship will be determined in India and is set to create the largest statelessness crisis in the world and cause immense human suffering".
Accusing the government of "discriminating against, harassing and prosecuting national and religious minorities and silencing any opposition, human rights groups... and journalists critical of the government", they asked the EU to insist on a "strong human rights clause with an effective implementation and suspension mechanism" during any trade agreement.
The resolution -- which is expected to be tabled during the plenary session of the European Parliament starting in Brussels next week -- comes days after the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked India 10 places lower in the Democracy Index, mentioning the citizenship law and the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after the government ended its special status.
The lawmakers expressed solidarity with the January 7 protests and asked the government to stop criminalising the protests and negotiate with the protesters.
17:40 ULFA behind multiple blasts in Assam
Banned outfit ULFA-Independent claims responsibility for the Assam blasts on Republic Day.
Four powerful explosions - three in Dibrugarh and one in Charaideo districts - rocked Upper Assam on Sunday morning, as the country celebrated its 71st Republic Day.
All four blasts occurred in a span of 10 minutes - between 8.15 and 8.25 am, a police officer said.
17:26 Centre should mind its job: Dy CM on NIA probing Elgaar case
The Maharashtra government was trying to go to the root of the 2017 Elgaar Parishad case when it was suddenly handed over to the National Investigation Agency by the Centre, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Sunday.
He also sought to remind the Centre about the federal structure of governance when asked about the development.
"I feel that the Centre and state governments should do their respective works. The Centre can intervene when an issue of the national level crops up," Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Rs 10 'Shiv Bhojan Thali'-- a flagship scheme of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government.
Pune Police are probing whether "provocative" speeches made at the Elgaar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017, led to the caste violence around Koregaon Bhima in the district the next day.
Police had first used the term 'urban naxals' during the investigation after arresting nine activists and lawyers, including Telugu poet Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj.
"I recently met state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and his deputy Satej Patil. We were briefed about the case by investigating officials. I felt they were trying hard to probe
the case," Pawar said while responding to a query on the NIA taking over the probe.
"In the event of any untoward incident, the basic objective is to investigate that incident, go to its root, check facts and avoid any communal rift. The state government was intending to investigate the case on that line, but suddenly the Central government decided to take over the case," he said.
16:58 Wouldn't have won Nobel if in India: Abhijit
Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee says he wouldn't have been able to win a Nobel Prize if he were based in his country of origin.
It isn't that there's no good talent in India, but a certain kind of system is needed, he said at a literature festival.
It's not possible for a single individual to achieve it, Abhijit Banerjee said, explaining that a lot of work for which he got credit was done by others.
Born in Mumbai, Abhijit Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta and Jawaharlal Nehru University. He received his PhD from Harvard University and is a professor at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.
In 2019, he shared the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel with his wife Esther Dufo and Michael Kremer. They were given the award "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.
The prize in economics isn't technically a Nobel. It wasn't established by Alfred Nobel's will, which says his wealth should be distributed to those making contributions to humankind in the fields of physiology or medicine, literature, physics, chemistry and peace.
Nonetheless, the economics prize is among the most coveted honours in the field of economic sciences.
16:18 Cong sends copy of Constitution to PM, says read it when you get time from dividing nation
On the occasion of the 71st Republic Day, the Congress on Sunday sent a copy of the Constitution to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and took a dig at him saying, "when you get time off from dividing the country, please do read it".
The opposition party posted several tweets on its official Twitter handle, alleging that the government was subverting the Constitution.
The Congress also tweeted the videos of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reading the Preamble from a protest assembly at Rajghat recently.
"Dear PM, The Constitution is reaching you soon. When you get time off from dividing the country, please do read it. Regards, Congress," the party tweeted along with the snapshot of an amazon receipt which stated that the copy of the Constitution was being dispatched to the Central Secretariat.
In another tweet, the Congress said a lesson the Bharatiya Janata Party has failed to understand is that all persons no matter creed, caste or gender are guaranteed equality before the law under Article 14 of the Constitution.
"It is this article that is completely violated by the government's Citizenship Amendment Act," the party said.
"It is important to remember that it is enshrined in our Constitution that all persons are protected from discrimination of any form. Therefore, any attempt to draft laws based on discrimination are unconstitutional," it said.
16:00 Hypocrisy of R-Day celebration: Mufti's daughter
The daughter of detained former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday criticised the Centre from her mother's Twitter account for what she said was its double standard over India's Constitution.
Iltija Mufti also pointed out the snapped mobile phone services hours after they were restored in the region.
Authorities said mobile phone and internet services were suspended as a precautionary measure for ensuring the smooth passage of Republic Day celebrations in the Valley.
Mobile internet services were suspended hours after their restoration on Saturday and mobile phone connectivity was stopped early on Sunday, they said.
"The hypocrisy of Republic Day celebrations by BJP led government that's wilfully desecrated & violated Indian Constitution isn't lost on anyone. Meanwhile Kashmir witnesses another shutdown & suspension of cellular services. Splendid integration indeed," Iltija Mufti tweeted.
Suspension of mobile phone and internet services on Republic Day and Independence Day has been part of the security drill in the Valley since 2005 when militants used a mobile phone to trigger an improvised explosive device blast near the venue of celebrations on August 15.
Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti and two other former chief ministers, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, have been under detention along with hundreds of others since August last year, when the Centre decided to downgrade the state to a Union territory.
Iltija Mufti had recently alleged that the former CMs' were kept in solitary confinement as the government wants to break their resolve.
An information blackout and a security lockdown were also put in place in the region to prevent protests against the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Most of those restrictions have since been eased but top politicians, including the three former chief ministers, remain under detention.
Mufti, who was lodged at Hari Niwas, was later shifted to a rest house at Chesma Shahi on the foothills of Zabarwan mountains.
She was shifted to an official house at Maulana Azad Road close to MLA hostel in December last year.
15:07 Modi thanks Maldives president and Sri Lankan PM for R-Day wishes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked the president of Maldives and the prime minister of Sri Lanka for their Republic Day greetings, saying New Delhi cherished the deep-rooted friendship with the two countries.
"Thank you the greetings on India's #RepublicDay, President @ibusolih. It is a matter of immense delight that friendship between India and Maldives is getting even stronger, benefitting the people of our nations," Modi wrote on Twitter.
He was responding to the greetings extended by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
He also thanked Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for the Republic Day wishes.
"India cherishes the deep rooted friendship with Sri Lanka," he wrote.
Rajapaksa said he and his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa participated at the cultural event organised by the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Saturday.
15:01 Delhi Police file FIR against Sharjeel Imam
The Delhi Police on Sunday registered a case against Sharjeel Imam for a controversial comment he made in a speech delivered in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, on January 16.
This is the third FIR in the case. Earlier, the Aligarh Police had registered an FIR, and another one was lodged in Assam.
Aligarh SSP Akash Kulhari said Sharjeel had gone underground in fear of being arrested.
The Delhi Police has registered a case against Sharjeel Imam under sections related to making a provocative speech.
The Aligarh Police registered a case against Sharjeel Imam for a controversial speech at an anti-CAA protest where he called upon people to "agitate and cut off Assam and the Northeast from rest of India". The video of the speech has gone viral on social media. This speech was believed to be made by Sharjeel Imam in Aligarh.
Sharjeel Imam's speech triggered a row, with the Bharatiya Janata Party terming its content as "anti-national" and the Assam government and UP Police filing cases against him.
On Sunday, Aligarh Police said that efforts were on to arrest Sharjeel Imam, who had "gone underground".
"Sharjeel Imam has gone underground. Efforts are on to nab him," Aligarh SSP Akash Kulhari said.
14:37 People in Kolkata form human chain to salute Constitution of India
A large number of people in Kolkata on Sunday formed a human chain that extended from Ramkrishna Mission at Golpark to Netaji Statue at Shyambazar in order to "salute, safeguard and uphold the Constitution of India" on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day.
The participants included women and children who held each others' hands to form a human chain "to spread the message of equality, liberty and fraternity" guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
The event was organised by local cultural body United Interfaith Foundation India. "The Constitution of India is a beacon constitutional document recognised the world over," said Archbishop Thomas D'Souza, President, United Interfaith Foundation India.
"Kolkata's citizens of all faiths and backgrounds celebrated the institution of the Constitution of India and pledged to safeguard and uphold the tenets of the Constitution of India by holding hands with each other and giving the message of universal brotherhood on the streets of the city at 12 noon on Republic Day," he added.
The human chain had 15 assembly points in the route from Ramkrishna Mission, Golpark to Netaji Statue, Shyambazar. People joined from their nearest accessible points to lend their support to the event. The Preamble of the Constitution was read out at all 15 assembly points in English, Hindi and Bengali.
Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
14:15 Mira Nair, Naseeruddin sign letter against CAA
More than 300 prominent individuals, including filmmakers Mira Nair, Nandita Das, actors Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Jaaved Jafferi, Homi K Bhabha, Partha Chatterjee, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, TM Krishna, Ashish Nandy, and Gaytri Chakravorty Spivak, among others, have signed an open letter, expressing their solidarity with the students of India who have been protesting Citizenship Amendment Act and against the National Register of Citizens.
Extending their support to the students, the signatories said in their letter, We stand in solidarity with the students and others who are protesting and speaking out against the Citizenship Amendment Act and against the National Register of Citizens. We salute their collective cry for upholding the principles of the Constitution of India, with its promise of a plural and diverse society. We are aware that we have not always lived up to that promise, and many of us have too often remained silent in the face of injustice. The gravity of this moment demands that each of us stand for our principles.
13:48 China bans wild animal trade until viral outbreak eases
China on Sunday ordered a temporary ban on the trade in wild animals as the country struggles to contain a deadly virus believed to have been spawned in a market that sold wild animals as food.
Raising, transporting or selling all wild animal species is forbidden "from the date of the announcement until the national epidemic situation is over", said a government directive.
The ban was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Administration for Market Regulation, and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
The lethal virus, which has caused 56 confirmed deaths and nearly 2,000 total infections in China, and spread to about a dozen countries, is believed to have originated in a market in the central city of Wuhan, where a range of wildlife was reportedly sold.
Conservationists have long accused China of tolerating a shadowy trade in exotic animals for food or as ingredients in traditional medicines, including highly endangered species such as the pangolin or tiger.
Health experts say the trade poses a significant and growing public health risk as potentially dangerous animal-borne pathogens that people would normal not be exposed to make the jump to humans.
13:13 Home Minister Amit Shah holds roadshow in Delhi
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is holding a roadshow in the Gonda area in the national capital on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day to campaign for the upcoming Delhi assembly polls.
Assembly elections in Delhi are scheduled to take place on February 8 while votes will be counted on February 11.
Addressing 'Jeet ki Goonj' programme at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday, Shah had said that the BJP wants to create a Delhi "where Shaheen Bagh never happens".
Targeting those opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, Shah said, "These people (opposition) started instigating riots after we implemented the CAA. They have no shame in standing with rioters. Manish Sisodia has pledged his support to people in Shaheen Bagh...Only Prime Minister Modi can control anti-national forces."
12:57 Tricolour unfurled at 10,000 mosques across Kerala on Republic Day
The Indian national flag was unfurled at around 10,000 mosques and religious institutions across Kerala on the auspicious occasion of 71st Republic Day on Sunday.
"The national flag was unfurled at around 10,000 mosques across the state on this auspicious occasion as per the instruction of the Waqf Board," said Secretary of the Kuttiady Juma Masjid Committee, K Basheer.
He said that the national flag was also unfurled at the Kuttiady Juma Masjid as per the instructions.
"Constitution is under threat by the Citizenship Amendment Act, we also read the preamble of the Constitution in solidarity," Basheer said.
12:27 Gandhi would have observed fast at Shaheen Bagh, had he been alive: Digvijaya Singh
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that Mahatma Gandhi would have observed fast against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital, had he been alive.
"If Mahatma Gandhi were alive today, he would have observed a 'Bhookh Hadtal' (fast) at Shaheen Bagh," Singh said.
Peaceful protests are being carried out at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi for over a month against the newly amended citizenship law and proposed National Register of Citizens.
Talking about the abrogation of Article 370, Singh said that Mahatma Gandhi would have also protested carried out a 'Padyatra' from Lal Quila in New Delhi to Lal Chowk in Jammu and Kashmir.
"I believe that if Gandhiji were alive today, he would have started a Padyatra today from Lal Quila to Lal Chowk. To address the distrust among the people living in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 was the biggest responsibility of those who believe in the unity in diversity in India," he said.
12:15 Mobile phone services snapped in Kashmir
Mobile phone services were snapped in Kashmir on Sunday as a precautionary measure for ensuring smooth passage of Republic Day celebrations in the valley, officials said.
While mobile internet services were suspended hours after their restoration on Saturday, mobile phone connectivity was suspended in the early hours of Sunday, they said.
Suspension of mobile phone and Internet services on Republic and Independence days has been part of the security drill in the valley since 2005 when militants used a mobile phone to trigger an IED blast near the venue of Independence day celebrations.
Meanwhile, stringent security arrangements are in place for ensuring that Republic Day celebrations pass off peacefully.
Security forces have been deployed along all the roads leading to the venue of the main official function in the valley to ensure that these disruptive elements do not succeed in carrying out their nefarious designs, the officials said.
Security forces have also been deployed on high-rise buildings to keep a vigil on the movement of people. However, the roads of the city and elsewhere in the valley wore a deserted look as people preferred to stay indoors.
Separatist groups like Hurriyat Conference used to call for a shutdown on January 26 and August 15 but no such call was issued this year as most of the separatist leaders were under detention since August 5 following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370.
12:02 Google's doodle showcases diversity of India
Internet giant Google on Sunday dedicated a special doodle to mark the 71st Republic Day, which captured the country's vibrant diversity, rich sartorial and cultural heritage as well as its beautiful bio-diversity.
The multi-hued doodle, with a dominant blue tone, depicts iconic monuments interspersed with images of famous music instruments and dance forms.
The Internet behemoth is known to mark landmark occasions and life and times of celebrated personalities with a special doodle on its homepage.
The six letters of the word Google have been portrayed colourfully and using images of India's national bird and an iconic south Indian dance form.
In the six letters of G-O-O-G-L-E, first 'O' has been represented with a peacock, second one with a face of Kathakali dancer, and the 'L' with a traditional musical instrument 'sitar'.
The rest of the three letters carry colourful images of life in India, making the logo of the search giant stand out, against a rich tapestry of the backdrop.
In the background, on top an image of Humayun's Tomb, a World Heritage Site, can be seen while India Gate with an auto-rickshaw and a pedal-rickshaw figure in the lower portion of the backdrop.
Kites fly in the back of the logo, while a woman dancer strikes a pose atop the letter 'E'.
Google India also tweeted the special doodle and wished people on the occasion.
The doodle, illustrated by Singapore-based guest artist Meroo Seth, highlights the rich cultural heritage that permeates and unites the diverse Asian subcontinent -- from its world-famous landmarks like the India Gate, it said.
11:48 Modi walks down Rajpath after R-Day parade
After a scintillating display showcasing India's military and cultural might, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is walking down Rajpath, waving to the crowds sitting in the enclosures.
This is not the first time that Modi has done so.
Modi follows this tradition every year, greeting people with great joy and zeal.
11:32 India's air power on display at R-Day parade
India's amazing air power is being displayed in the skies above Rajpath.
The Apache, Chinook helicopters were displayed for the first time at the parade.
Wing Commander SK Chauhan leads the 'Vic' formation, comprising three Dornier aircraft. The captains of the other two aircraft are Squadron Leader Vikas Kumar and Squadron Leader Abhishek Vashisht.
11:24 Motorcycle daredevils wow Rajpath crowd
Inspector Seema Nag, salutes standing on top of a moving motorcycle.
In a first, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF perform daredevil stunts at the parade.
The contingent is being led by Inspector Seema Nag.
Seema is posted with the Rapid Action Force.
Trishul formation, comprising of 3 ALH helicopters in Vic formation. This is the first time that a Tri-service Formation is taking part in the Republic Day.
10:48 Dhanush gun system on R-Day Parade for 1st time
The 'Dhanush' gun system, commanded by Captain Mrigank Bharadwaj, was part of the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath for the first time on Sunday.
The 155mm/45 Caliber Dhanush gun system is a towed Howitzer designed indigenously by the Ordnance Factory Board.
The gun with a maximum range of 36.5 km has the capability of automatic gun alignment and positioning.
The gun, which is equipped with inertial navigation system and advanced gun sighting system, has been designed to meet futuristic requirements of the Army.
10:38 Flawless contingents show off India's military might
The Camel Contingent of Border Security Force under the command of Deputy Commandant Ghanshyam Singh marches at the Republid Day Parade.
The BSF's motto is Duty unto Death.
There are over 75 different dress items which are necessary to ceremonially dress the camels and riders of the Force.
10:26 Capt Tania Shergill marches into history books
The marching contingent of the Corps of Signals is led by Captain Tania Shergill, a fourth generation Army Officer.
The motto of the Corps is Teevra Chaukas #RepublicDay2020.
Captain Tania Shergill is the first woman adjutant at a Republic Day parade.
For those wondering what are the responsibilities of an adjutant, Captain Shergill will be responsible for the overall conduct of the Republic Day parade and ensure that all the marching contingents are in position and ready before the commencement of the march past on Rajpath.
Read her inspiring story HERE
10:14 Meet R-Day Parade Commander Lt Gen Asit Mistry
This year's Republic Day parade is being led by the Parade Commander, Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area.
The Indian Army will be represented by 61 Cavalry in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers; raised in 1953, the 61 Cavalry is the only active horse cavalry regiment in the world. The Army will also be represented by six marching columns (including those of the the Kumaon Regiment and the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment), eight mechanised columns and a fly-past by the Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters.
In the mechanised columns, the indigenously-developed Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP)-II, K-9 VAJRA-T, Dhanush Gun System, newly-inducted five-metre Short Span Bridging System, Sarvatra Bridge System, Transportable Satellite Terminal and Akash weapon system, are some of the main attractions in today's Republic Day parade.
10:03 Prez unfurls flag at Rajpath ahead of parade
President Kovind, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro reach Rajpath. PM Modi and chief of the three defence forces welcomed them and escorted them to the presidential enclosure.
This is the third time a Brazilian president is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in India.
09:43 PM Modi pays homage at National War Memorial
Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads the nation in paying tributes to the fallen soldiers, by laying a wreath at National War Memorial.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Air Force Chief Air Marshal RKS Bhaduria accompany the PM.
This is the first time the PM will pay tribute at the war memorial instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti.
09:28 Let us raise level of protest: Chidambaram tweets on R-Day
Amid agitations against the Citizenship Amendment Act in several parts of the country, former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram Sunday took to Twitter to call for raising the level of protest.
As we raise the flag today, let us also raise the level of protest, he said in one of his tweets.
Chidambaram began the series of tweets by saying that the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution were given by the people unto themselves which no government can take away.
Happy Republic Day. The soul of the Constitution lies in the freedoms guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution. These freedoms were given by the People unto themselves. No government can take them away, he wrote.
A critic of the government, Chidambaram also said freedom for the population cannot be partial. As long as freedoms are denied to any part of the people, the whole of the population is denied freedom, he wrote.
He also criticised the government for a heavy handed approach to Kashmir where a rash of restrictions that were introduced in August last year when the Centre scrapped Article 370, still remain in force.
Remember that today as we think of the 70 lakh people of the Kashmir valley whose freedoms have been taken away, including those in custody for over 6 months. without charges. Add to that the outrageous charges, including sedition, slapped against hundreds of protesters by the authoritarian government, he tweeted.
09:18 Capital under multi-layered, ground-to-air security cover for Republic Day celebrations
With the 71st Republic Day celebrations set to begin shortly, the entire national capital has been put under a multi-layered, ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel keeping a tight vigil over it, including the celebration venue Rajpath.
Aided by dozens of drones in the air and hundreds of CCTV cameras and facial recognition devices, besides several anti-aircraft guns on the ground, the security personnel are keeping a hawk-eyed vigil over Rajpath, where President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be celebrating the occasion along with chief guest, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and other dignitaries, besides thousands of citizens.
Over ten thousand security personnel have been deployed to keep vigil over the Republic Day celebrations on Sunday, said officials.
Sharpshooters and snipers have been deployed atop high-rise buildings to keep watch on the eight-km-long parade route from Rajpath to the Red Fort, they said.
The celebration venue Rajpath will remain inaccessible to general traffic till 12 noon, till when the entry and exit gates of the Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk and Lok Kalyan Marg metro stations too will remain closed, beginning from 8.45 am.
The Delhi police has also installed its facial recognition devices at all entry gates of the R-Day celebration venue to identify miscreants and suspects, said officials.
Special security arrangements have been made for Brazilian President Bolsonaro, who is the chief guest for the Republic Day parade, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal had said earlier.
More than 2,000 Traffic Police personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth flow of the traffic and facilitate spectators reach the venue.
Hundreds of CCTV cameras too have been installed as part of the security arrangements, including at least 150 cameras in areas covering the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk and Yamuna Khadar, they said.
"We have a four-layered security arrangement. Inner, middle, outer and one along the border areas across the national capital," said Singhal, adding drones have also been deployed to aid and assist security personnel on the ground and give feed to them on the general and security scenario around them.
"Around 5,000 to 6,000 Delhi police personnel have been deployed in the New Delhi district along with 50 companies of paramilitary forces," he added.
08:53 India to display many firsts at R-Day parade
From a contingent of women bikers of CRPF performing daredevil stunts and participation of a 'tri-service formation' at the Republic Day parade, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to the fallen soldiers at National War Memorial, the Republic Day celebration at the national capital today would witness many firsts.
Marching for the first time in the Republic Day parade will be the contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence. It will be followed by the Combined Band of Bengal Engineers Group and Centre, Brigade of Guards Training Centre, 3 Electronics and Mechanical Engineers Centre and Madras Regimental Centre.
Anti-Satellite Weapons from Mission Shakti, the Dhanush artillery, the newly-inducted Chinook heavy lift and Apache attack choppers would be at display for the first time during the parade at the majestic Rajpath.
In a first, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF will perform daredevil stunts. The contingent will be led by Inspector Seema Nag, who will be seen saluting while standing atop a moving motorcycle. It is for the first time that a "Tri-service formation" is taking part in the Republic Day parade. It will be followed by the `Vic` formation of Chinook helicopters, used for airlifting diverse loads to remote locations.
Breaking from the tradition, Prime Minister Modi will pay homage to the fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial at the India Gate, instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti, here on Sunday morning prior to participating in the 71st Republic Day celebrations.
08:17 PM, Union ministers greet people on Republic Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings to countrymen on the occasion of 71st Republic Day.
"Wishing everyone a happy #RepublicDay. Jai Hind," he tweeted.
The prime minister was joined by Union ministers in wishing people on the micro-blogging site.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, "Greetings to all Indians on 71st Republic Day".
Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said, "On the occasion of Republic Day, I congratulate students, parents and all related to the education sector."
"Wishing everyone a happy #RepublicDay," Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted, "Greetings and good wishes on the occasion of 71st Republic Day. #RepublicDay #Indian".