No turning back, say Jaitley, Swaraj

Madhopur (Punjab), Jan 25 (PTI) Slamming J-Kgovernment for stopping them from entering Jammu, BJP leadersArun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj today rejected Centre''s appealto turn back and vowed to go ahead with the proposed flaghoisting at Srinagar''s Lal Chowk tomorrow.

"We will head towards Jammu and then towards KashmirValley for hoisting national flag at Lal Chowk along withhundreds of our activists. Where-ever they stop us, we willsit there on a dharna till January 26," Swaraj told reporters.

The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha said, "We willnot leave till 6 PM tomorrow. We will sit on dharna till then.

If they want to arrest us, they can do so at any place."

Swaraj along with Jaitley and former Union MinisterAnanth Kumar were sent back from Jammu and dropped on thebridge over Ravi river at Punjab''s border at Madhopur nearhere late last night.

Jaitley said Home Minister P Chidambaram had phonedhim at Jammu airport yesterday asking him to fly back to Delhisaying they had made their point.

"We are not a banana republic... the way we weredetained. They cannot physically throw us like that. Iinformed the Home Minister regarding this to which he saidthat he would look into it," Jaitley said.

He described as a "criminal act" the Centre''s decisionto divert trains bound for Jammu. "What the government did bydiverting trains and expelling the leaders amounts to hijack,"he said.

Jaitley claimed that the situation in J and K wasworse than it was in 1953 when people required a permit toenter the state. "But today you physically pick up people andthrow them out of the state," Jaitley said.

Swaraj said that they were determined to hoist thenational flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar tomorrow.

"We told the authorities last night in Jammu toeither arrest or allow us to proceed further for the partyrally there but they put us separately in three vehicles anddropped us at the bridge here eventhough we were told that wewere being shifted to a jail in Jammu.

"They are employing such gimmicks.... The leaders ofopposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are not beingtold the truth and the way they are physically taken away issomething unprecedented and unheard of," she said.

Chidambaram today appealed to the BJP leaders to giveup the "path of confrontation" and not push any "politicalagenda" that will affect peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

"I would request the two Leaders of the Opposition (inParliament) and their colleagues to give up the path ofconfrontation, return to Delhi and join the celebrations inDelhi on Republic Day," he said in a statement.

The J-K government has sealed the border with Punjaband put barbed wire on the bridge over Ravi river connectingthe two states.

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