Yatra: BJP leaders detained at Jammu airport
Jammu: BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun
Jaitley and Ananth Kumar were stopped at Jammu airport and
asked to go back as they arrived here on Monday to "take command"
of the party programme for hoisting the tricolour in Lal Chowk
in Srinagar on Republic Day.
The leaders, who came on a chartered flight from New
Delhi this afternoon, were not allowed to move out as the
authorities imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of
CrPc after over 1000 BJP workers assembled outside the airport
to welcome them.
Protesting against the state government's actions,
the BJP leaders sat on a dharna inside the airport while
outside, party activists raised slogans against Omar Abdullah
government and blocked the road next to the building.
Slamming the state government, Kumar claimed that as
soon as they landed the District Magistrate asked them to go
back but they refused.
"It is a draconian situation here. They have almost
formed an Emergency-like situation. We will not accept this
order as we are free citizens of India and entitled to land in
Jammu," Kumar said, adding the three of them were sitting on a
dharna on the tarmac.
The BJP leaders were dispatched by the party a day
after several workers of BJP's youth wing (BJYM) were
prevented from entering Jammu and Kashmir.
"This is an outrageous act by the Omar Abdullah
government which has detained our leaders at the airport. This
is a picture akin to the Emergency days," state BJP spokesman
Jitender Singh told reporters here.
"They (authorities) are furthering the agenda of the
separatists and undermining the nationalist element," he said.
He alleged that 23 BJP activists have been arrested
and administration and police were harassing the pilgrims who
were going to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at a railway station
after labelling them as BJP workers.
The Opposition party has accused Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and the Omar Abdullah government of
"surrendering" to separatists and showing "disproportionate
and panic reaction".
The Prime Minister recently asked parties to desist
from scoring political points or promoting divisive agendas
and exercise maximum restraint to ensure that peace is not
disturbed in a "sensitive" state like J&K, a remark
criticised by the BJP.