Commandos, pourakarmikas steal R-Day show

Commandos, pourakarmikas steal R-Day show

The Garud Commando Force of the Indian Air Force regaled the crowd by subjugating mock terrorists who hijacked a bus. DH photo/S K Dinesh

An elite commando unit at the forefront of fighting terrorism and a 31-strong platoon of men and women sanitation workers at the forefront of Bengaluru’s “war on garbage” stole the show at the 71st Republic Day celebrations on Sunday.

Chosen from various zones across the city, the marching pourakarmikas carried slogans calling for increased cleanliness in the city, such as “a clean environment translates to life security,” and “A no-garbage city is a healthy city”.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner B H Anil Kumar had earlier said the inclusion of the sanitation workers was to create awareness on a cleaner city.

Appu, 29, the leader of the pourakarmika contingent, said he was excited to have sanitation workers participate in the parade. “We have trained for two days, and we are proud to participate in this event because we are neglected people. People look down on us. But we are happy to participate in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and hopefully, our involvement in the parade will help people know more about the work,” he said.

Commandos

The pourakarmikas were eventually followed by the Indian Air Force’s Garud Commando Force, who regaled the crowd with a sample of their work.

In a carefully rehearsed scene enacted before the crowd, mock terrorists were shown hijacking a bus, which triggered a response from the Garuds. A chase by five vehicles ensued within the parade grounds until the bus was stopped and surrounded. 

The troops were then shown neutralising the terrorists with flash-bangs, before deploying a dog – a Belgian Malinois trained at the CRPF Dog Breeding and Training School near Bannerghatta – to subjugate a “mock terrorist” wearing padded clothes.

Following a careful check of the bus for “explosives”, the Garud commandos and their “prisoners” loaded up back in the vehicles to do a victory lap around the grounds, to the sounds of A R Rahman’s “Vande Mataram”.

However, neither contingent won the best of show. First prize for best parade drill in Group 1 went to the army. Among other winners were the NCC, Karnataka State Civil Defense, Kuvempu Smaraka Vidya Kendra school and Florence Public School.

“The Garuds could not be included because their performance was not a part of the parade drill,” an organiser said.

When asked if the pourakarmikas contingent was saddened not to have won, Appu said: “No, it was a tremendous honour for us just to have participated. The other contingents were trained. We did the best we could. We feel proud that our participation will inspire other pourakarmikas.”