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Official functions organized amid separatist shutdown in Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Local government in Indian-controlled Kashmir Sunday organized official functions amid tight security vigil and separatist shutdown to celebrate India's 65th Republic Day, police said.

The shutdown was called by separatist groups challenging New Delhi's rule in restive region.

The two major functions were held in twin capital cities of the region-Srinagar and Jammu, where the contingents of police, paramilitary troopers, young cadets and school children marched past the Indian flag and staged performances to mark official celebrations.

In Srinagar, the summer capital of region, Ali Mohammed Sagar, a senior minister in local government unfurled the Indian flag and took the salute in highly secured Bakhshi stadium. In Jammu city, the winter capital, the region's Governor N N Vohra hoisted the Indian tri-color and took the salute of march past in Maulana Azad Memorial stadium.

The security was beefed up in the region days before the celebrations to keep militants at bay from disrupting the official functions.

India's federal government had sent an advisory to all states and Indian-controlled Kashmir in wake of intelligence inputs suggesting militant groups might try to cause disturbance during official functions.

Police and paramilitary troopers were deployed on roads across the region in full strength and bullet proof mobile bunker vehicles were also parked in the middle of the roads outside venues of official functions to sabotage any attack.

The security agencies had activated all the installed Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) in Srinagar to monitor the movement of people.

The Republic Day in India marks the date when India's new republican constitution came into force on 1950. Every year the day is celebrated by India on January 26. The main function was held in Indian capital New Delhi, where India's cultural diversity was displayed along with military might.

Though January 26 is an official holiday in the region, a complete shutdown called by separatists affected the normal life in restive region. Shops and businesses were shut, while traffic was off the roads. Separatists in the region are demanding end of New Delhi's rule in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Reports said official functions were held at district headquarters as well. Meanwhile, the mobile telephone and internet services across the region were jammed early Sunday as a security measure to prevent militants from using mobile phones to trigger explosive devices or pass on information.

Officials said militants have used mobile phones in the past to trigger remote controlled explosive devices in the region.

It has become a regular practice in the region to jam the mobile telephony and internet signals during high-profile visits and official functions. The connectivity was restored in the afternoon after culmination of the official functions.

A police spokesman said the official functions passed off peacefully in the region. A guerrilla war aimed at putting an end to Indian rule is going on in the region between militants and Indian troops.

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