Kolkata, Aug 15 (IANS) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said people of the country and its institutions must strive to remain “independent” in the true sense of the word.

Banerjee unfurled the tricolour and attended a colourful parade at the arterial Indira Gandhi Sarani (erstwhile Red Road), as West Bengal joined the nation in celebrating the 72nd Independence Day.

In a midnight tweet on the occasion, Banerjee called for cherishing the “idea of India” for which the freedom fighters had laid down their lives.

“Our country must reach the glorious heights that the founding fathers of our Constitution envisioned,” she tweeted greeting “all brothers and sisters”.

Her ministers, senior bureaucrats and police officers, armed forces officers and members of the diplomatic corps also took part in the main function in the city.

Various wings of the police and NCC cadets participated in the parade, as a helicopter showered petals, and folk dance troupes from across the state depicted diverse cultures.

In a first, police personnel from Odisha took part in the parade.

Riding their blue-white and pink-black scooters, the newly formed special all-women patrolling team from the Kolkata Police earned applause on their maiden presence in the parade.

Constituted in 2018, the team christened “winners” have been primarily trained to assist their male counterparts in helping women complaining of molestation or eve-teasing.

Various state government departments also brought out colourful tableaux highlighting their achievements, some of the government schemes and Bengal’s rich cultural heritage.

After the Trinamool came to power in 2011, Banerjee started the ritual of the Independence Day parade at the Indira Gandhi Sarani.

Earlier, Banerjee was present at the customary midnight Independence Day celebration organised by her party Trinamool Congress at South Kolkata’s Hazra Crossing.

Independence Day was also celebrated in schools and colleges, hospitals and other government and non-government institutions across the state.

Patriotic songs reverberated in the air while people exchanged greetings and wishes on the occasion.

IANS