India honours officers killed in Mumbai attacks

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The Independent Online

India honoured six security officers who were killed while responding to the attacks on Mumbai with the country's highest peacetime award during today's Republic Day celebrations.

President Pratibha Patil presented the Ashok Chakra medals to the widows of the officers during the traditional celebrations in the capital, New Delhi.



Among those honoured were Hemant Karkare, the head of Mumbai's antiterror squad, and two commandos who were killed while trying to end the gunmen's three day siege in November that killed 164 people and nine attackers.



Gopal Ombale, a policeman who charged the gunmen armed just with a baton, was also given the award. His actions led to the capture of the lone-surviving gunman.



India celebrates its Republic Day on Jan. 26 every year to commemorate the 1950 adoption of its constitution. The country gained independence from Britain in 1947.



The celebrations — which traditionally include a military march past the president and thousands of onlookers — were peaceful amid high security.



In Mumbai, a martial arts trainer scaled the 490-foot (150-meter) tall Shreepati arcade building to pay tribute to victims of the attacks.



In New Delhi, dozens of roadblocks were set up across the city and some 20,000 police were on the streets.



Tensions were heightened after Indian security forces killed two suspected militants on the outskirts of the capital on Sunday. India said the men were believed to be Pakistani nationals.



India has blamed a Pakistan-based group for the Mumbai attacks.



The day also passed quietly in Indian-ruled Kashmir and India's restive northeast, where separatist groups have traditionally tried to disrupt celebrations.

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