Not all visitors get to see R-Day show

Delhiites fume over entry timing chaos

The early morning cold failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of people who gathered at Rajpath in Delhi to see and cheer India’s military might on the occasion on the country’s 26th Republic Day on Sunday.

Carrying the Indian flag and sporting arm bands and patriotic badges, people began assembling at Rajpath from the wee hours of Sunday itself. Comprising many people who had come from other states, they patiently waited in long queues to enter the enclosures designated for the general public.

It was, however, many of those with VIP and other passes who returned disappointed. Though the different passes instructed the holders to be seated between 9 am and 9.30 am, hundreds of them complained that they were denied entry into the designated enclosures from 8.30 am itself.

“The ministry of defence has apparently issued many more number of passes than the seating capacity. It looks like they wanted everyone who applied for a pass to feel special,” said Rajat Hooja who held a VIP pass and was accompanied with three others.

An NRI, Hooja had arrived at Rajpath at 8 am to see the parade for the first time in his life.

Relatives and friends of MoD officials, civil servants and media persons, among others, were provided with special passes by the department.

Many complained that they reached right up to the gate of their designated enclosures, but were turned away with the advice to join the general public in the long queues.

“The situation in the general queues appeared to be leading to a possible stampede. I will keep this pass as a souvenir now,” said Asma Hussain, another disappointed person.

Supriya Mishra, an architect and another of the many disappointed lot, said that the pass-issuing department should be more careful in mentioning the time by when people should be seated. “My pass says 9.15 am. I had arrived much earlier,” she said.

Many of these people chose to visit popular restaurants and canteens in the area as a substitute for the failed opportunity.

Police had a tough time managing the huge crowd that had thronged the place. Police personnel were seen climbing walls and using loudspeakers to control the public who broke all queues on reaching the gates of their designated enclosures.

Barricades were in place at all the roads leading to the venue. Only vehicles with parking numbers issued by the authorities were being allowed to enter the temporary parking spaces.

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