GUWAHATI, Aug 10 - The Independence Day celebration this year will be a low key affair and all the districts have been directed to ensure maintenance of the COVID-19 protocols while celebrating the Day. Meanwhile, police and security forces have been directed to maintain a close watch on the situation to ensure that the celebrations pass off peacefully.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna said that the Government of India has given detailed instructions for the celebration of Independence Day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that necessary instructions have been issued to the Administration of the districts in this regard.
The Chief Secretary said that rapid antigen tests are being carried out on the persons selected to take part in the parades this year. No student would be brought into the parade grounds. He said that the list of invitees to the parade grounds would be pruned as all the guests would have to maintain social distancing. The officers will attend the functions, but they will have to maintain social distancing and follow the other COVID-19 protocols. The Government has not banned the visits of common people to witness the celebrations, but everyone will have to maintain social distancing and wear masks.
The Chief Secretary recently held a meeting with the senior officers of police, Army and paramilitary forces to review the security scenario. All forces have been directed to keep a close watch on the situation and to augment intelligence gathering so that no militant outfit can indulge in any act of violence. For years, the militant groups have been trying to create disturbance during the Independence Day celebrations. Though the level of violence has come down in recent years, the Government is not taking any chance. The parade grounds have also been taken over by the police. As the Khanapara playground has been transformed into a COVID care centre, the central function will be held at the Judges Field.
It may be mentioned here that the Ministry of Home Affairs has sent detailed guidelines to the states for Independence Day celebrations amidst the pandemic and said that the COVID-19 protocols should be strictly observed.
The Home Ministry guidelines instructed the states to avoid large congregations and to ensure that everyone attending the functions should maintain social distancing and wear masks. The guidelines said that the states should try to arrange for web cast of the functions to reach out to the masses.
The guidelines further said that the State Governments should invite the COVID warriors including doctors, health workers and sanitation workers to the functions in recognition to the services rendered by them in the fight against the pandemic. The Ministry also said that some cured patients should also be invited to attend the functions.