Reduced Guest List, Police in PPE Kits: 74th I-Day Event to be Sombre Affair Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

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The Independence Day, which is usually celebrated with great fervour, will be a low-key affair this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 74th Independence Day will see a reduced guest list, policemen in PPE kits and no participation of schoolchildren.

The event at the Red Fort shall comprise of a guard of honour by the armed forces and the Delhi Police to the prime minister, unfurling of the national flag and firing of the 21-gun salute. The highlight, however, would be the prime minister's address, which will be followed by the singing of the national anthem and release of tricoloured balloons.

Security Ramped up

Close to 4,000 security personnel will be deployed at the Red Fort and they will strictly adhere to social distancing. More than 350 Delhi Police personnel, who will be part of the guard of honour, have been quarantined as a precautionary measure.

Besides sealing the main venue at Red Fort, security has also been beefed up at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

"All the necessary guidelines in view of the Covid-19 pandemic will be enforced," a senior police officer told news agency IANS, adding that there will be extensive traffic arrangements with adequate deployment of staff and signages for the convenience of the general public. Bomb disposal squads have also been put on alert and have been deployed in key locations around Red Fort.

The Delhi Police have also asked individuals experiencing Covid-19 symptoms to avoid attending the event.

Meanwhile, in Ghaziabad, security has been ramped up and special search operations are being undertaken to check hotels, railway stations and restaurants. SSP Ghaziabad Kalanidhi Naithani told IANS that two Quick Response Teams (QRTs) comprising sniffer dogs and bomb disposal squads have been constituted.

PM Modi's Seventh I-DAY Address

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay his tribute at Rajghat at around 7 am, after which he will leave for the Red Fort, where he will be welcomed by the defence minister and defence secretary. At 7:32am, prime minister Modi will address the nation. Notably, this will be PM Modi’s seventh Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Delhi Police Issues Traffic Advisory

The Delhi Traffic Police also issued a traffic advisory detailing the roads on which traffic would be diverted. People have been advised to take alternative routes to avoid road blockages. As per the advisory issued, certain roads will stay closed from 4 am to 10 am. People are advised to leave for their destinations in advance to avoid being stuck in traffic.

(With IANS inputs)