BJP plans to hold rally near Punjab-Jammu and Kashmir border

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MADHOPUR - As security personnel swarmed the area, top BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar were Tuesday planning to hold a rally near the bridge separating the state from Jammu and Kashmir to signal their determination to go ahead with the plan to unfurl the national flag at Srinagar.

The three Bharatiya Janata Party leaders were at a rest house in this tourist town on the banks of the Ravi after they were brought here Monday night by Jammu and Kashmir police from Jammu, where they were taken into custody. They were released Monday night.

The Lakhanpur barrier-Madhopur bridge area, on the border between Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, resembled a battle-zone Tuesday morning with hundreds of armed security personnel being deployed. Armoured vehicles, water-cannon trucks and riot-control vehicles and personnel were stationed to thwart any attempt by the BJP leaders and activists to enter Jammu and Kashmir.

Arrangements have been made here for the BJP rally to be held later in the afternoon, sources said.

“I want to warn the government against stopping the Tiranga Yatra. This will have widespread repercussions. We will definitely hoist the tricolour at the Lal Chowk,” Sushma Swaraj, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, told reporters here Monday night.

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president and MP Anurag Thakur, who is leading the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ that is supposed to culminate at Srinagar’s city centre Lal Chowk, will arrive here from Pathankot, 15 km from here where the march had halted Monday night.

The BJP plans to unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar Jan 26 even though the Jammu and Kashmir government has opposed the plan, fearing it will create a law and order problem in the valley.

The road coming from Punjab, better known as National Highway I-A, is the only road link that Jammu and Kashmir has with the rest of the country. Lakhanpur has various entry points — one is from the bridge, and then there is an untarred road and then the dry riverbed.

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