Jalandhar, Jan 23 (ANI): Bharatiya Jan Yuva Morcha (BJYM) President Anurag Thakur and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday slammed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Government for disrupting the party's plans to hoist the national flag at the historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26.
"The Jammu and Kashmir Government is already in favour of separatism. They demand freedom for Kashmir, they don't want to call Kashmiri Pandits back to Kashmir. They don't want to respect our national flag," said Thakur.
"So, because of these few people, will we leave our people to be insulted, or because of these few people, should we leave our country. It is our duty that we respect our national flag in the country. It is every Indian's right that we hoist our national flag in every part of the country," he added.
Meanwhile, Sidhu criticized the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for discouraging the flag-hoisting plan.
"Today, these people are worried to see India being humiliated. These very separatists when they come to Delhi, the Prime Minister welcomes them and then says freedom of speech. And, when a young man wants to go there (Kashmir) and hoist the national flag for national integrity, they are stopping him there," said Sidhu.
"Oh, Mister Omar (Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir), you should instead welcome him. Are you the same Omar Abdullah who used to say 'I am an Indian first and a Kashmiri later. Today, you should welcome Anurag and hoist the national flag. This is our identity, and if you lose your name, then where will you go, and if you lose your identity, then where will you go?" he added.
The Prime Minister has called upon political parties to exercise maximum restraint in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir.
In a statement, Dr. Manmohan Singh urged them to desist from promoting divisive agendas for scoring points at the cost of peace in the State.
Observing that the Republic Day is a solemn occasion, he said it is not an occasion to create situations that could lead to entirely avoidable problems.
Dr. Singh expressed hope that citizens and political parties will heed his call and will do nothing that will disturb peace and harmony, or detract in any way from the dignity of Republic Day.
He further observed that over the years, the states have devised their own time-tested and publicly accepted procedures for the Republic Day celebrations within a common national framework.
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha national president Anurag Thakur is leading the Rashtriya Ekta Yatra - flagged off on January 12 at Kolkata and scheduled to reach Srinagar on January 26.
The yatra will cover 3,037 km and enter the State on the afternoon of January 24 at Pathankot. (ANI)