BJP''s Tiranga plans foiled; Swaraj, Jaitley arrested

Kumar Abhishek

Lakhanpur (J&K), Jan 25 (PTI) BJP''s high-decibel campaignto hoist national flag in Srinagar''s historic Lal Chowk wastoday foiled by the Jammu and Kashmir government whicharrested Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and hundreds of partyactivists at the state border with Punjab amid high drama.

As they were arrested here soon after entering J and K,Swaraj and Jaitley lashed out at Omar Abdullah government asalso the Centre, accusing them of making a "historic mistake"and a "psychological surrender" to separatists.

Swaraj vowed to make another attempt to hoist the flag inSrinagar tomorrow.

A day after being thrown out of the state, Swaraj,Jaitley and senior party leader Ananth Kumar tried to re-enterthe state along with the Ekta Yatra being led by the party''syouth wing president Anurag Thakur but failed.

They were arrested for violating Section 144 whichprohibits assembly of more than four persons at any particularplace. They were taken to Kathua and would be produced beforea court there tomorrow.

"What can be more unfortunate that those who burn thenational flag are being provided security while those holdingthe national flag are being stopped," said Swaraj.

"What is our crime? Why are we being arrested? We havebeen marching peacefully," Swaraj said while addressingthousands of party supporters carrying the national flag.

Earlier, Swaraj and Jaitley addressed a public meeting atMadhopur on Punjab border and vowed to go ahead with the plansto to unfurl the national tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

"Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has saidif you visit the state, the separatists will be provoked. Thisshows the psychological surrender (by the state government)before the is a historic mistake," Jaitley,Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said.

Later, a group of activists were seen crossing the bridgeon the river Ravi on the Punjab-J&K border where they werestopped by security forces.

The BJYM activists continued to shout slogans demandingthat they be allowed to proceed to Srinagar to hoist thetricolour at Lal Chowk.

Jaitley said when a "group of separatists" gathered inNew Delhi and made anti-India speeches, the government did nottake action contending that freedom of speech was their right.

"But when we took he tricolour to unfurl it at Lal Chowk,they dub it as a crime," he said.

Condemning the action against them, Jaitley said, "It isshameful that for the first time after Independence, hoistingtricolour has become a crime in India. The state governmentand the Centre are dishonouring the flag."

Thakur also slammed the state and the centre for stoppingthe yatra which he has been leading from Kolkata since January12, saying it does not augur well.

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