Independence Day at the time of Covid-19: Pruned guestlist, no school children and security and cops in PPE
74th Indian Independence Day celebrations will be like never before during the times of coronavirus pandemic, but will be befitting the significance of occasion. Unlike the usual pomp and spark the day will be celebrated in a subdued manner across the country due to pandemic restrictions. The Red Fort will see a trimmed dignitaries attendance on the I-Day celebrations on August 15. Rugs have been replaced with chairs at various areas, school children will not be participating in the celebrations in Delhi, and police will be seen adorning personal protective equipment – a rare celebrations style indeed.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official said, “At the Red Fort, instead of 900-1000 invitees every year, around 250 people will be present as the Prime Minister addresses the nation.” The final list of attendees is being prepared by the Defence Ministry. During “At Home” function later in the day at Rashtrapati Bhavan the central focus will be ‘corona warriors’. Sources reveal that likely attendees will be people from medical profession and some key personas in the healthcare sector.
There will be guard of honour by armed forces and Delhi Police to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Mr. Modi’s seventh I-day ceremony as Prime Minister. There will be then unfurling of the National Flag, firing of 21 gun salute, PM speech, national anthem singing and release of balloons in colours of Tiranga at the end. Security, including NSG snipers, SWAT commandos, kite catchers, will be placed around Red Fort.
Delhi Police has requested invitees to skip the event in case they are experiencing any Covid symptoms in past two weeks. The 350 Delhi Police personnel who are part of guard of honour have been placed in precautionary quarantine at a new police colony built in Delhi Cantonment. “Flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms like para-gliders, para-motors, hang gliders, UAVs, micro light aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small size powered aircraft, quadcopters or para-jumping from aircraft etc. are prohibited over the jurisdiction of National Capital Territory of Delhi up to August 15”, Delhi Police said.
All the State governments and Union Territories administrations have been issued guidelines by Home Ministry to celebrate the I-Day without any large congregations and to use technology in best possible way for the event. Web casting of celebrations has been advised to help the event reach maximum people. Precautionary measures like physical distancing, mask wearing, sanitization are urged.
“It would also be appropriate that COVID-19 warriors like doctors, health workers, sanitation workers are invited in the ceremony as a recognition of their noble service in fight against Covid-19 Pandemic. Some persons cured from COVID-19 infection may also be invited,” advisory said.
At school levels the authorities have suggested online celebrations, online quiz and debates, essay writing and such events to keep the spirit of Independence Day celebrations lively among the young generation.