Observe 'Freedom at Midnight' by hoisting tri-colour in the same spirit as in the past by strictly following Covid protocols, said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, as she asserted the country has overcome many challenges and likewise will triumph over the one posed by coronavirus.
On the occasion of the 74th Independence Day, she asked people to do all it takes to preserve the basic principles on which this country was founded. This time the Independence Day celebrations were subdued in West Bengal due to the COVID-19 situation.
Banerjee unfurled the national flag and inspected guard of honour of various contingents of the West Bengal Police at the main function held on Red Road in Kolkata.
Only a few ministers and government officials were present on the occasion.
She felicitated 25 frontline workers who recovered from COVID-19 and rejoined duty.
A song composed by Banerjee -- "Corona chole jabe ekdin, COVID joddhader mone rekho" (coronavirus will be defeated one day, but remember the COVID-19 warriors) - was played in the background during the felicitation.
Separetely, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who paid a visit to Gandhi Ghat in Barrackpore to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, called for ensuring that democratic values "are not compromised" and shunning of political violence. The chief minister in an another tweeter post said, "Happy Independence Day to all my brothers and sisters. We salute all those who sacrificed their lives to make the dream of a "free nation" come true. "Our freedom was hard-earned, and we must do all it takes to preserve the basic principles on which this country was founded."
Dhankar in a tweet message said, "We must abjure political violence and keep nation always first. Independence Day greetings to all. Time for all of us to pledge -- always keep nation first." At the state-level function, the transport department's 'Save Drive Save Life' tableau displayed the message of wearing masks to defeat COVID-19 which has spread in the state.
Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said Independence Day was celebrated in a minimalistic manner due to the COVID- 19 situation.
He said the state government will distribute five lakh masks among the people starting from Saturday.
The chief minister had earlier urged the people to celebrate Independence Day by strictly adhering to safety measures.
The tri-colour was hoisted at different community clubs, offices of political parties and organisations sans any gathering in the backdrop of raging coronavirus cases which has crossed one lakh-mark in the state.