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Silk threads bind siblings as nation celebrates Raksha Bandhan

PTI 02 Aug 2012, 20:50:37 IST
New Delhi, Aug 2: Raksha Bandhan, the festival that reaffirms the treasured bond of love and care between brothers and sisters, was celebrated today across the country with traditional fervour and gaiety.

Feasting, merry-making and exchange of gifts marked the the day as sisters, dressed in their fineries, applied ‘tilak' on their brothers' foreheads and tied ‘rakhis' on their wrists, praying for their happiness and prosperity.

Brothers, in turn, vowed to protect their sisters and ward off all evils.

It was also the perfect occasion for family gatherings as people took time out from their busy schedules with several private sector companies declaring a holiday.

Sweets shops saw long queues as crowds gathered for last-minute purchases. Similar scenes were witnessed outside gift shops and theatres across the country.

On the occasion, President Pranab Mukherjee stressed on the need to ensure that women in the country feel safe and secure at all times.

Pranab Da, as he is fondly called, also said that abhorrent practices such as female foeticide and dowry deaths should be brought to an end.

Children from various schools and social organisations greeted Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan and tied the sacred thread on his wrist and sought his blessings.

In a symbolic gesture, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tied ‘rakhis' to trees and pledged to spread greenery.

 “...We will not only plant trees but will also ensure protection,” he said.

Heart-tugging scenes were seen at Tihar jail, where 15,000 women thronged to tie rakhis to their brothers lodged in the prison complex.

Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was among the lucky Tihar inmates who received love and affection from their sisters.

As against the usual norm of ‘mulaqat' inside the prison premises that happens behind a thick grill and wire mesh, making it difficult to see the visitor and sometimes even understand the conversation, on the occasion of Rakshabandhan inmates are allowed to meet their kin without any barriers.

According to sources, Afzal Guru, a high-security inmate lodged in jail number three, was allowed to meet his visitor without any barrier and celebrate the occasion.