BJP defiant, senior leaders to attend Ekta Yatra
Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and Arun Jaitley are going to Jammu.
New Delhi/Amritsar: A team of three senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)leaders - Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and Arun Jaitley - are going to Jammu on Monday afternoon to participate in the Ekta Yatra.
They will also meet Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha President Anurag Thakur, who is leading the Ekta Yatra. Sushma and Jaitley are likely to accompany Thakur to Srinagar for hoisting the flag. The party also compared the crackdown on its workers and the security arrangements to the situation during Emergency.
"The government crackdown is worse than the 1975 Emergency. It is like a dictatorship," said BJP spokesperson Jitender Singh.
Thakur, camping at Amritsar, sounded defiant even as the Omar Abdullah government stepped up security arrangements across Jammu and Kashmir to stop BJP's march to hoist the Tricolour at Srinagar's Lal Chowk.
"Today we will halt at Pathankot. We went to Golden Temple to seek God's blessings. We are very much sure that we will go to Lal Chowk and hoist the national flag there. I don't see any reason for them to stop us. We are not doing any crime. If the Prime Minister and Omar Abdullah consider themselves to be Indians they should allow us to hoist the flag," said Thakur in Amristar on Monday.
Jammu and Kashmir government has sealed the entry points from Punjab like Lakhanpur and Nagri-Narole into the state. Four companies of CRPF have been deployed at the state border to check the entry of the Ekta Yatra. Prohibitory orders (Section 144) have also been imposed in Lakhanpur, which is the border between Punjab and J&K. With the imposition of prohibitory orders public gatherings of more than four people has been banned.
Security has been stepped up in Kashmir Valley too. Security forces have been patrolling Lal Chowk, Bakshi Stadium and also on the Jhelum River. They are keeping a strict vigil in the area and scanning houseboats, looking for BJP activists who might be hiding in them.
There have been reports that BJP activists have arrived in Srinagar. On Sunday two people were arrested by Jammu and Kashmir when they tried to paste some posters at the Lal Chowk.
The Yatra started from West Bengal on January 12 and covered parts of Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.
(With inputs from Jyoti Kamal, Mufti Islah and Pawan Bali)