R-day celebrations amid Maoist black flags

Bhubaneswar: Governor M C Bhandare unfurled the tri-colour in the state capital as the day was celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm in most parts of the state barring some Maoist-hit areas were the Naxalites unfurled black flags.

As the governor took salute of an impressive parade at the state level function in Bhubaneswar, colourful tablaux and cultural pageants unfolded the state`s rich culture and progress made in different sectors unfolded at the majestic Mahatma Gandhi Road.

Governor Bhandare gave away the President`s medals to police and fire services personnel for meritorious services. The awardees included three IPS officers. Fourteen personnel including one IPS officer were given awards for meritorious services. 

On a jarring note, some remote areas in Maoist-affected districts like Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Koraput saw hoisting of black flags by the ultras. Due to Maoist scare, the day could not be celebrated in several schools located in remote areas of Chitrakonda, Kalimela and Motu in Malkangiri district as no teacher and student turned up, reports said.

Despite tight security, Maoists hoisted black flags and put up posters and banners in Kalimela and Motu areas of naxal-hit Malkangiri where the ultras had asked people to refrain from celebrating the day. Similarly, in Kalahandi district black flags and posters were seen in Thuamul Rampur area with a call to boycott the celebrations, sources said.

Elaborate security arrangements were made in the Maoist infested districts with heavy force deployment and intensive patrolling in view of the threat from the ultras.

As the day was being celebrated with usual enthusiasm in most other parts, chief minister Naveen Patnaik hoisted the tri-colour at a function in Cuttack. Describing Odisha a land of peace and rich cultural heritage, Patnaik said the country and the state had developed immensely but a lot more needed to be done.