Kashmir tricolour hosting: BJP leaders released in Kathua

Jammu, Jan 26 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Part (BJP) leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, who were arrested yesterday as they crossed into Jammu to carry on with the party's plans of hoisting the tricolour at Srinagar's Lal Chowk were released in Kathua on Wednesday.

The trio then met the several BJP workers and unfurled the national flag in Kathua.

The BJP veterans then headed to the party office in Jammu promising to continue their protests against the government's policies in the state.

"Yesterday we were arrested on the Jammu border and we were not even told where they were taking us or when they would release us. We've all been here at the police lines in Kathua. All our activists want to hoist the national flag at the Lal Chowk, where the national flag was insulted and burnt," said Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha national president Anurag Thakur after the release.

"All of us want to show our respect to the national flag. And so all of the 500 activists who've been arrested here will hoist the national flag right here at the police lines Kathua," he added.

Earlier today, the BJP turned down Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's invitation to attend the Republic Day celebrations.

"It is a lip service by him (Omar). We do not give credence to it and turn it down," said Anurag Thakur.

"Omar first arrested leaders of the nationalist party and then did not allow the hoisting of national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar as if it is not a part of the country. Then he invites us as a state guest for the tricolour hoisting on the Republic Day in the state," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, scores of BJP activists including party veterans Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and Anurag Thakur were taken into custody under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) while marching towards Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab.

The marchers carrying the national flag in their hands and shouting slogans "Bharat Mata ki jai" breached the barriers put up by the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

On Monday, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj were not allowed to leave the Jammu airport.

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha national president Anurag Thakur is leading the Rashtriya Ekta Yatra, which was scheduled to reach Srinagar today.

The Yatra was expected to cover 3,037 km and enter the State on the afternoon of January 24 at Pathankot. (ANI)

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