Kashmir could resort to force to stop BJP `yatra`

The BJP plans to hoist the national flag in Srinagar`s Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government has conveyed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that it will be "forced to use force" in case the party goes ahead with its plan to hoist the national flag in Srinagar`s Lal Chowk on Republic Day, an official source said.

It has been conveyed to the BJP leadership that the party`s Tiranga Yatra "is unwelcome in Jammu and Kashmir for the simple reason that it would vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the state", the source said.

It has also been made clear that the government would be "compelled to resort to force to keep the marchers outside Jammu and Kashmir", the source added.

At a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday, the state government decided that no programme that has the potential of vitiating the peaceful atmosphere in the state will be allowed, an official statement said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police are engaged in sealing the state`s border with Punjab at Lakhanpur, 90 km south of Jammu.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also appealed to refrain from "promoting divisive agendas" on Republic Day.

The march led by BJP`s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president Anurag Thakur was flagged off from Kolkata on January 12.

The yatra, which was earlier scheduled to enter Jammu and Kashmir on Monday evening, will now enter on Tuesday, state BJP president Shaamsher Singh Manhas said.

Separatists have also given a call for a counter-march to Lal Chowk in Srinagar January 26 and have planned to hoist black flags and to stage street protests.