NEW DELHI (AP) India celebrated its 70th anniversary of the founding of the country’s first political party Saturday, saying its achievements had given a new lease of life to a people suffering from centuries of oppression and hunger.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the day of “national unity” after a meeting with Indian chief ministers and other key leaders.
Modi also announced a ban on the sale of alcohol in the country, a move that could lead to a spike in sales.
A group of Hindu nationalists gathered to mark the occasion at the site of the Babri Masjid, the historic Muslim shrine revered by the Hindu community in central India.
Modis government has pushed for a crackdown on intolerance after thousands of people were killed last year during protests against a police killing of a Muslim man accused of throwing stones at a police station in the city of Hyderabad.
The prime minister is expected to unveil a national security strategy this week that will include measures to fight extremism and corruption, and a series of key policy initiatives, including a national healthcare system, an end to a ban and a national lottery for young people.