Heightened security for I-Day in riot-hit Bengaluru

Security has been stepped up and vigil enhanced across the tech city for the 74th Independence Day celebrations on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic and uneasy calm in the riot-hit areas, an official said on Friday.

“Additional forces have been deployed across the city and vigilance stepped up to ensure peaceful celebrations of the 74th Independence Day and prevent any untoward incident in the riot-hit northeast suburb where ban order on assembling of more than five people is in force,” a police official told IANS here.

Though the public is banned from participating in the main function at the Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw parade ground in the city centre due to the Covid-induced restrictions on gathering in large numbers for social distancing, additional police personnel have been deployed at the venue to maintain law and order.

“The situation in the riot-hit areas is under control and normal across the city. Flag-hoisting by organisations or associations are allowed in localities across the city under the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” said the official.

Karnataka Chief Minister B. S.Yediyurappa will unfurl the Tricolour at the main function after the National Anthem and the state anthem are rendered, inspect guard of honour and receive salute from the contingents of the three services, state police forces, NCC and Bharat Scouts & Guides.

“The chief minister will also deliver his I-Day speech in Kannada from the podium after the flag-hoisting ceremony and inspecting the guard of honour,” an official from his office told IANS.

In view of the Covid induced restrictions, about 500 people, including people’s representatives, defence personnel and state officials have been allowed to attend the main function.

“Unlike in the previous years, the I-Day function will be low-key due to the Covid-19 pandemic and curbs on public gathering in large numbers. No army helicopter will shower rose petals over the parade ground this time. March past and cultural programmes by students of the state-run and civic schools in the city have also been cancelled,” said the official.

As a special gesture, however, 75 frontline corona warriors and 25 patients who recovered from the infection have been invited to attend the function.

“The hour-long programme will be telecast live by the state-run Doordarshan and local news channels for viewing by the people from their homes,” added the official.

The invitees will be subjected to thermal screening at the entrance of the venue to ensure they are free from the virus.

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