Will surely unfurl national flag in Srinagar: BJP

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday maintained that its activists will unfurl the national flag at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on Republic Day Wednesday even though a large number of party workers and leaders were arrested soon after the crossed into Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab.

Our activists will hoist the tricolour tomorrow (Wednesday) at Lal Chowk. The Congress will repent its stance. It is a historical blunder by the Congress, party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said here.

Our leader S.P Mukherjee gave his life in Kashmir. Our march to hoist national flag in Srinagar is peaceful, Hussain said.

He said if the government had given even a tenth of paramilitary forces it used to prevent the march from entering the state in providing security to workers of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) for hoisting the flag in Srinagar on Republic Day, it would have earned praise.

On the one hand we are reminded of the freedom fighters who gave their life for the cause of the tricolour, on the other we are reminded of the Emergency imposed by the Congress government, he said.

He said that party leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar were stopped from entering Jammu Monday and held at the airport tarmac for several hours.

They were later taken (away from Jammu) in separate cars. This is the first such incident after Emergency, he said.

Hussain added that the party did not need anyone’s permission to hoist the tricolour.

The party spokesman said that over 5,000 party workers had been arrested in Jammu and alleged that they had not been provided basic facilities like water. Hussain said some party legislators had been arrested in Srinagar as well.

The BJP’s Ekta Yatra or unity march, which started from Kolkata Jan 12, is planned to culminate at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, a historic square witness to many political events of the troubled state.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has not given permission for the BJP’s march for it believes that it may reignite tension in the state where calm has prevailed after months of unrest and deadly street protests last summer.

According to Hussain, a large number of people came to Rajghat in New Delhi where party leader Rajnath Singh is on hunger strike, protesting the Jammu and Kashmir and central government’s refusal to allow the yatra to proceed.

Asked about key ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s opposition to the flag-hoisting plans, Hussain said:, “In a democracy, everybody has a right to speak.

The Congress, however, dismissed the BJP’s plans to hoist national flag at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk as a “political tamasha (stunt)”.

“Whatever they (BJP) are doing is not an expression of patriotism. It is a political ‘tamasha’ and they should not have done this,” party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here.

“In such a situation, in the name of the national flag and Republic Day, no one should do anything which spoils the atmosphere in the state…and hampers national interest,” he said.

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