Patriotic fervour marks I-Day fete in Karnataka (Lead)

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Bengaluru : Patriotic fervour, gaiety and the spirit of freedom marked the 72nd Independence Day celebrations across Karnataka on Wednesday.

In the state capital, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy unfurled the tricolour at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade ground in the city centre under a cloudy sky.

Kumaraswamy joined about 8,000 people, including women and children, when the national anthem was played by a military band at the sprawling venue.

An Army helicopter showered rose petals around the podium where the Chief Minister and many VIPs were seated.

After receiving salute and inspecting the guard of honour, Kumaraswamy went around the rectangular ground in an open jeep and greeted the battalions of armed forces, state reserved police, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Bharat Scouts and Guides.

The Chief Minister delivered his speech in Kannada for about 30 minutes.

Forty contingents of state police forces, Home Guards, Fire Force NCC, Scouts and Guides and about 1,200 boys and girls from city schools joined the armed forces in the march parade around the ground, passing before the Chief Minister and other dignitaries.

About 2,500 students re-enacted select historic events of the freedom struggle, including non-violent protests and clashes with colonial police.

Some 100 young artistes staged cultural programmes, including folk dances and songs, depicting the war of independence.

Through song, dance and short plays, the youths relived the life of freedom fighters including Sangoli Rayanna and Kittur Rani Chennamma of Karnataka who fought against the British Army in the 19th century.

Martial arts and daring feats and acrobatics on motorcycles by the military as well as the police teams kept the crowds spellbound.

Later, Kumaraswamy presented gallantry medals and awards to police officers and distributed prizes to the participating organisations.

Governor Vajubhai Vala hoisted the national flag at the Raj Bhavan here.

According to reports from districts, the national flag was hoisted by the cabinet ministers and deputy commissioners.

Events were also held in hundreds of schools and colleges across the state.