Chennai, Aug 15 (IANS) The macabre dance of Covid-19 infection and the ensuing restrictions have taken the sheen out of Independence day celebrations in Tamil Nadu, with the main programme at Chennai only witnessing some lively participation.
In several southern districts of Tamil Nadu, the 75th Independence day celebrations turned out be a low-key affair with the District Collectors hoisting the national flag and taking salute.
Generally, several entertainment programmes organised by the school students used to liven up the Independence day programmes. However, with tight Covid restrictions in place, students were not allowed entry for the programmes.
Several organisations, including resident associations, NGOs, youth clubs, social and political organisations had requested the police for permission to conduct the Independence day programme. But all such requests were turned down fearing the Covid-19 pandemic and its spread if more people attend an event.
The grama sabhas which were generally conducted in the state during Independence day celebrations were also not allowed and came under severe criticism from several quarters, including superstar Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) Chief Kamal Haasan.
All major temples in the state were closed and hence the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department which manages the temples arranged sweet pongal for the people and delivered it in packets.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), South Zone, T.S. Anbu, speaking to IANS, said, "Across southern zone there was high-level police deployment to ensure no untoward incident in the city.
With the recent arrest of certain LTTE sympathisers and crackdown against a major heroin smuggling network, the police was on high alert in southern Tamil Nadu during Independence day celebrations.
Several vital installations like V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, Thoothukudi; statues of prominent personalities; Pamban Bridge and other important landmarks were placed under tight police security.
The situation was similar in most parts of north and western Tamil Nadu and with people not being allowed entry to the stadiums during the Independence day flag hoisting owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the events were a low-key affair. District Collectors hoisted the flag and presented merit certificates to people whose names were announced earlier.