This year we had an unusual Republic Day. It did not have a chief guest. UK PM Boris Johnson who had agreed to be chief guest withdrew on 5/1/2021 due to Third Wave of Corona in UK. Government of India decided to have Republic Day celebrations without chief guest as in 1952, 1953 and 1966 instead of finding a replacement.
Due to Corona there were restrictions on number of participants. This happened for the first time.
Bangladesh contingent took part in Republic Day parade to mark 50 years of their independence.
Farmers marched in tractors and on foot in Delhi. Some broke barricades. Some entered Red Fort and hoisted a flag there which was later removed. There was violence and as per one report more than 300 policepersons were injured. Some policepersons fled. It is a pathetic sight to see policepersons fleeing from hooligans and vandals.
Delhi Police had approached Supreme Court to ban farmers’ march or rally in Delhi. Supreme Court said Delhi Police has power to allow or not allow the march or rally. It was a surprise that Delhi Police allowed the march on certain routes after talks and agreement with leaders of farmers. It is said it was a political decision by Amit Shah, India’s Home Minister. Whatever be the background, Police Commissioner of Delhi is responsible for allowing the march.
Hoisting the flag at Red Fort drew condemnation from many leaders including those who supported farmers. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said violence at Red Fort is an insult to the nation. Storming of Red Fort rivalled in audacity storming of Babri Mosque. Those who demolished Babri Mosque got what they wanted. It is said the flag is Nishan Sahib which is flown over gurudwaras. Some said it was Khalistani flag.
There are FIRs against leaders of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. Farmers’ unions called off march to Parliament House on Budget Day 1/2/2021.
TV channels would have shown visuals of Republic Day Parade during the day. Instead, violence in Delhi made the news.