BY: TILAK CHANDAR
Chennai: The Republic Day Parade was a low key affair this year as compared to last year’s.People were clearly upset with the Marina and the Nadukuppam incidents that took place on Monday.
The security arrangements were tight. About 2000 Tamil Nadu Police personnel were brought in for security cover at the Marina near.
As I walked in for the Security check the security personnel asked me to show my handkerchief. Following which I was allowed to walk into the venue. Why handkerchief ?
The parade began with the Chief Minister O.Paneerselvam hoisting the Indian National flag followed by the national anthem. The Army, Navy and Air Force commandos took part in the parade. School children took part in the cultural events.
I was there to cover the event and then move on to Nadukuppam to write a report on the atrocities that took place. I spoke two protesters who came there to witness the parade.
Ashwin Irudayaraja of the Chennai Cycle Group said, ” I was part of the protest. I am here for the parade because I am patriotic. Protesting does not make me anti-national”.
Ashwin was stopped by the Security personnel and he was asked to deposit his ‘Black ‘ handkerchief at the counter. He added that he was mocked for having a beard and called names as the Police recognized him from the Marina protests.
His friend Vignesh said, ” We were protesting for our culture and pride”. He added that it was not right to question their patriotism and their presence at the parade proved their patriotism.