In his first remarks on the violence and vandalism on Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the country was sad to "see the insult to the Tricolour".
Addressing the country through his first 'Mann Ki Baat' monthly radio programme this year, the Prime Minister said the incident occurred days after when the country celebrated Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Bihu festivals as well as the Indian cricket team's victory on Australia and the celebration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's 125th birth anniversary as 'Parakram Divas'.
Unprecedented chaos was unleashed upon Delhi on the 72nd Republic Day as the tractor rally by the protesting farmers went off the designated course and rolled into the iconic Mughal-era Red Fort in the Old City. A protester died on the way and over 300 security forces were injured in the incident. The farmers entered the forecourt of the Red Fort, climbed its ramparts, and hoisted a religious flag on a mast outside where the Prime Minister unfurls the Tricolour every year on Independence Day.
"...On January 26, seeing the insult of the Tricolour, the country was very sad," the Prime Minister said.
Modi further urged each countrymen to "fill the future with new hope and newness and prove our resolve by working hard as like we showed exceptional restraint and courage last year".
The Prime Minister later wished those who were awarded Padma Awards -- one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
The awards are given in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The awards seek to recognise achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.