Kashmir turns into a fortress in view of BJP yatra

Kashmir turns into a fortress in view of BJP yatra

Srinagar/ New Delhi: With BJP showing no signs of going back on its plan to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk , security in the Kashmir valley has been revamped and all attempts are being made to ensure that the opposition party does not succeed in its endeavour.

BJP party leader L. K. Advani on Sunday said in New Delhi the “State is surrendering" to the separatists who have declared that they will not let the tricolour be hoisted at the historic site.

“If the rationale for the prohibitory orders is apprehension of breach of peace, curbs should be targeted towards those who have declared that they will not let the tricolour be put up at the Lal Chowk....

“And certainly not against those who have been repeatedly asserting that they will peacefully, and respectfully, unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk," Advani wrote in his latest blog posting titled ‘Let not the State surrender to separatists´.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah chaired a high level meeting of the civil administration and security agencies on Saturday evening.

“The chief minister reviewed the general law and order situation prevailing in the Valley," an official spokesman said after the meeting, hours after which police took BJP state unit’s vice president Sofi Mohammad Yousuf into preventive custody.

A senior police officer said the BJP leader was taken into custody as a preventive measure.

Yousuf’s detention was the second direct action taken by the state government against the BJP as six party activists were arrested on Saturday for violating the prohibitory orders in force in the city.

“They were pasting posters which could have led to breach of public peace. They were also found violating section 144 of CrPC, which prohibits assembly of four or more persons," the officer said.

He said 300 posters were seized from the arrested persons all locals.

Similar posters, featuring images of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and BJP stalwarts like former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani, had appeared in Bemina and Tattoo ground areas of the city on Saturday but have been removed since.

The state government has decided to deploy around 100 additional companies of police and paramilitary forces to scuttle any attempts by the BJP to march towards Srinagar, official sources said.

A large contingent of police has been deployed at Lakhanpur and Nagri Narola, the entry points from Punjab to Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, the sources said.

Sizeable forces will also be deployed at Udhampur and at Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir Valley, to prevent BJP activists from Jammu to march towards the Valley.

While the tunnel is closed for a few hours every year on Independence Day and Republic Day as a security measure, the authorities are mulling the option of closing it on 25 January to prevent the activists from entering the Valley, they said.

Besides gearing up for the challenge posed by BJP, the security forces have intensified checks and search operations around Bakshi Stadium, the main venue of Republic Day celebrations in Kashmir.

Vehicles entering and leaving the city are subjected to random searches and security forces have been carrying out patrols around the stadium to ensure militants do not attempt to strike the city, they said.