BJP defiant on hoisting flag in J&K

BJP on Sunday asserted it will hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day despite the "suppressive methods" of the UPA.

Zeenews Bureau

Bangalore: Despite governments at the Centre and in states trying to stop BJP’s ‘flag yatra’, the Saffron party on Sunday continued to remain defiant on the issue and asserted that it will hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on the Republic Day.

The BJP said it wouldn’t be cowed down by the "suppressive methods" of the UPA and the Omar Adullah government in Jammu and Kashmir.

"...let me warn the government: You can suppress by various methods our agitation, but we will unfurl the flag at Srinagar on 26th January. That`s definite," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told a press conference here.

"We know how to reach Jammu, how to reach Srinagar, if the government adopts suppressive methods. We will reach," Javadekar said.

The remarks came on a day when a train carrying BJP youth wing activists from Karnataka to Srinagar for the January 26 event was halted in Maharashtra, and the party supporters were sent back to the state.

Javadekar condemned the move and termed it "undemocratic", saying it`s akin to emergency days of 1975.

‘UPA surrendering to separatists’

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meanwhile came under attack from the main Opposition party for his remarks against the BJP youth wing`s march to unfurl the national flag at Lal Chowk. The BJP today said the UPA government was "surrendering" to Kashmir separatists.

Leading the charge, BJP`s senior-most leader LK Advani wrote in his blog: "I wish the PM realises that these young men led by Anurag Thakur are not trying to score a political point; they are challenging the separatists. And the state is surrendering to them!"

The senior leader was referring to the Prime Minister’s remark on Saturday when he said the Republic Day was "not an occasion to score political points, to embarrass the state and local administrations, to create situations that could lead to entirely avoidable problems, or to promote divisive agendas".

Advani wrote that while the separatists were mocking the Indian government by hoisting the Pakistani flag at Lal Chowk, the state government, with approval of Manmohan Singh`s government, announced it would not allow the BJP to hoist the national flag, stating that it had the potential to vitiate the atmosphere.

"I hope... the state government realises the enormity of the shame our authorities (the state government has obviously taken the step with the approval of the Central government) are inviting for themselves by their perverse decision," he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), led by its president Anurag Thakur, plans to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk on Republic Day, for which it is taking out a Rashtriya Ekta yatra (national unity march).

‘PM’s stand unacceptable’

Joining the attack, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, at a press conference, accused Manmohan Singh of "psychologically surrendering" to Kashmir separatists by describing the party youth wing`s programme as "divisive".

"When two people (referring to author Arundhati Roy and Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani) speak in New Delhi about the segregation of the (Jammu and Kashmir) territory, it passes off as a right to free expression. But when as an assertion of India`s sovereignty, the national flag is sought to be hoisted in Srinagar, it is dubbed as divisive," he said.

"No penal action has been taken against these two people when they talked about the segregation of the Kashmir," Jaitley pointed out.

Jaitley said the Prime Minister`s stand was "unacceptable" and wondered how could the hoisting of the national flag be "divisive and provocative".

"We completely reject describing as divisive the peaceful assertion of nationalist sentiments," he stressed.

The Rashtriya Ekta Yatra was flagged off on January 12 from Kolkata. After passing through 11 states it will complete the Punjab leg of the journey on Monday.

The journey will enter Jammu and Kashmir from Lakhanpur border, according to the BJYM plan. It is the same border point that was taken by founder president of erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh Doctor Syama Prasad Mookerjee 58 years back.

Mookerjee was opposed to giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and had described it as an appeasement. He was minister for industry and supply in Jawaharlal Nehru`s government, but subsequently resigned from it.

Jaitley slammed the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Centre for unleashing a reign of repression on BJYM workers going to Srinagar.

"The disproportionate reaction" from the state and the Central governments pointed to the "state of panic" they were in, he said, alleging that unconstitutional and undemocratic methods were being employed to stop the Yatra.

Anurag Thakur, who is touring Punjab as part of his yatra, in a statement issued by his office here also attacked Manmohan Singh, saying the Prime Minister`s remarks smacked of "blatant disregard" for youth`s aspirations and "an attempt to suffocate democracy".

Thakur said he was appalled at the "ugly designs" of the Congress and the state government in scuttling his peaceful march.

(With PTI/IANS inputs)