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There was no Republic Day celebration in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk by the security forces Tuesday and neither was the tricolour hoisted by them atop the clock tower there, which had almost become a custom in the last 19 years of militancy.
The bustling business hub was in a state of uneasy calm as people all over the Kashmir Valley remained indoors due to a shutdown call by separatists and the heavy presence of security forces.

There was no official word on why the celebration was not held Tuesday.

As Lal Chowk, which recently witnessed a long terror siege of nearly 23 hours, wore a deserted look, the gun-toting men in uniform were alert and in battle-ready mode.

Security forces used to have their own Republic Day celebration in Lal Chowk and would distribute sweets and sing the national anthem, which would be followed by the hoisting of the national tricolour on the clock tower situated right at the centre of the market.

Lal Chowk has seen lots of militant violence in the last two decades and was always at the centre of political activities, right since 1947.

Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations had become a custom after Jan 26, 1991, when Bharatiya Janata Party’s Murli Manohar Joshi dared separatists in curfew-bound Lal Chowk as he unfurled the tricolour on the clock tower.

His unfurling of the flag came two years after insurgency erupted in the valley in 1989.

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