R-Day celebrations pass off peacefully amid unprecedented security

New Delhi: With intelligence inputs warning of a possible terror strike, unprecedented security measures were put in place across the country for Republic Day celebrations that passed off peacefully today.

However, a few incidents including an encounter in South Kashmir where an unidentified militant was killed, and a bomb scare sparked by an unclaimed bag at a Pathankot railway station set off alarm.

The national capital was brought under an unprecedented ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel keeping a tight vigil for the 67th Republic Day celebrations where French President Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest.

The area around Central Delhi was turned into a virtual fortress in view of intelligence inputs that terror groups may target some important installations in the city.

The measures were adopted in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase.

Ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, central security agencies and NIA busted a module by arresting 14 militants linked to terror group ISIS, who, officials claimed, had planned to carry out strikes at important installations.

Commandos with light machine guns were deployed at 10 strategic locations and anti-aircraft guns remained positioned at two vantage points in the capital.

The entire region of Central and New Delhi had nearly 50,000 security personnel drawn from Delhi Police and central security forces guarding every nook and corner.

Special arrangements were made at the historic Rajpath where India’s military might was on display.

Hollande was seated along with President Pranab Mukherjee and host of VVIPs including Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The VVIP enclosure was put under a multi-layer security ring with Presidential Guards and officials of SPG and NSG guarding the two inner-most orbits and Delhi Police entrusted with guarding the outermost circle, said a senior official.

Senior officials said snipers have been put atop 45 buildings overlooking Rajpath besides providing a similar cover along all the buildings along the parade route.