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First Independence after defeating terrorism

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will preside at the 62nd Independence Day celebrations tomorrow at 8.30 a.m. at the precincts of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy.

Main Buddhist religious rites on Independence Day will be held at the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy, Hindu religious rites at Sri Selva Vinayagar Kovil, Katukele, Kandy, Roman Catholic rites at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy, Islamic rites at Meera Makkan Mosque, Kandy and Christian rites at St. Paul’s Church, Kandy. The official ceremony will be held under the patronage of chief prelates of Malwatte and Asgiri Chapters, Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara and Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry officials.

The Independence Day State function will start with the hoisting of the national flag by President Rajapaksa at 8.50 a.m. followed by the national anthem. The function will begin at 9.07 a.m. under the President’s patronage with the participation of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, Speaker, Chief Justice and Judges, Ministers, Parliamentarians, Diplomatic Corps, Chief of Defence Staff, and Commanders of the Armed Forces and the IGP.

Two minutes silence will be observed at 9.07 a.m. to honour patriots who had laid down their lives to protect and preserve freedom and the territorial integrity of the country. This will be followed by a 21 gun salute to President Rajapaksa.

The Independence Day address to the nation will be delivered by the President at 9.15 a.m. followed by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police march past at 9.45 a.m.

Military parades and cultural pageants with 2,000 security forces personnel and 1,200 artistes from cultural bodies and Dalada procession unit will be among the highlights. There will also be items by 4,000 schoolchildren which include nearly 1,000 specially trained members from cultural bands.

Two thousand special guests will also participate and the area around Mahamaluwa has been declared as high security zone.

The public can enter the area on production of the identity card. All night pirith chanting and religious observances were held at the Independence Hall, Independence Square, Colombo. The pirith chanting ceremony was headed by Chief Incumbent, Gangarama Viharaya, Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thera with the participation of Religious Affairs Minister Pandu Bandaranayake and senior officials. This will be followed by an alms giving at Gangarama Viharaya today.

Floral tribute to the first Minister D. S. Senanayake’s statue at Independence Square is also among the day’s events.

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