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I-Day celebrated amidst tight security in WB

The 73rd Independence Day was celebrated peacefully in West Bengal amid tight security with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurling the national tri-colour on Thursday in the city.

The chief minister took salute from Kolkata Police and presented gallantary medals to the police personnel.

"Acting on alerts from the MHA, we made special security arrangement for Independence Day celebrations. We left no stone unturned to make the arrangement fulllproof," an official said.

As a security measure all entry and exit points of the metropolis have been kept under strict watch, the police said.

Security at all vital installations, railway stations, bus terminus and shopping malls have been strengthened and vigil has been stepped up along the international borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

The NSC Bose International Airport was put on high alert ahead of the Independence Day, airport sources said.

Security in areas bordering with neighbouring states such as Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha was stepped up, a police official said.

The Red Road venue, where Banerjee hoisted the national flag, was divided into 14 zones whose security was monitored by top officers of Kolkata Police.

The chief minister did not address the people at the programme. She said in a Twitter post late on Wednesday night "I salute my nation and all our countrymen & women on Independence Day. Democracy is our most priceless asset. Let us take an oath today, not to divide India. We must unite India."

"We must always strive for political freedom, economic freedom, freedom of expression and preserve democratic rights. When these are not given, we should organise peaceful movements to preserve these rights," she tweeted.

The highlight of the Independence Day function was the display of colourful tableaux themed on schemes and campaigns by various departments of the state government.

There were tableaux on 'Kanyashree' and 'Sabuj Sathi' schemes of the state government and campaigns like 'Jal Dharo Jal Bharo', 'Safe Drive Save Life'.

In another function at the Gandhi Ghat in Barrackpore near here, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar placed wreaths at the Gandhi Memorial Column which was preceded by a prayer meeting to the accompaniment of Bapu's favourite Ramdhun song.

Dhankhar also laid wreaths at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Mayo Road in the city later.

The state Information and Cultural Affairs department organised an exhibition themed on the contribution of Bengal to the freedom movement.

Clubs and social organisations took out 'prabhat pheris' (morning rallies) while the national flag was hoisted in educational institutions, clubs and government offices all over the state.

Various political parties also observed the day.