Swaraj, Jaitley stopped at Jammu airport, sit on dharna

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Jammu, Jan 24 (PTI) BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, ArunJaitley and Ananth Kumar were stopped at Jammu airport andasked to go back as they arrived here today to "take command"of the party programme for hoisting the tricolour in Lal Chowkin Srinagar on Republic Day.

The leaders, who came on a chartered flight from NewDelhi this afternoon, were not allowed to move out as theauthorities imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 ofCrPc after over 1000 BJP workers assembled outside the airportto welcome them.

Protesting against the state government''s actions,the BJP leaders sat on a dharna inside the airport whileoutside, party activists raised slogans against Omar Abdullahgovernment and blocked the road next to the building.

Slamming the state government, Kumar claimed that assoon as they landed the district magistrate asked them to goback but they refused.

"It is a draconian situation here. They have almostformed an Emergency-like situation. We will not accept thisorder as we are free citizens of India and entitled to land inJammu," Kumar said, adding the three of them were sitting on adharna on the tarmac.

The BJP leaders were dispatched by the party a dayafter several workers of BJP''s youth wing (BJYM) wereprevented from entering Jammu and Kashmir.

"This is an outrageous act by the Omar Abdullahgovernment which has detained our leaders at the airport. Thisis a picture akin to the Emergency days," state BJP spokesmanJitender Singh told reporters here.

"They (authorities) are furthering the agenda of theseparatists and undermining the nationalist element," he said.

He alleged that 23 BJP activists have been arrestedand administration and police were harassing the pilgrims whowere going to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at a railway stationafter labelling them as BJP workers.

The opposition party has accused Prime MinisterManmohan Singh and the Omar Abdullah government of"surrendering" to separatists and showing "disproportionateand panic reaction".

The Prime Minister recently asked parties to desistfrom scoring political points or promoting divisive agendasand exercise maximum restraint to ensure that peace is notdisturbed in a "sensitive" state like J and K, a remarkcriticised by the BJP.

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