The J-K government on Sunday left nothing to chance to scuttle the BJP-sponsored ‘Rashtriya Ekta Yatra’ on the way to Kashmir to unfurl the tricolour at restive Srinagar’s Lal Chowk area and to stop separatist Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) activists from reaching the venue.
The J-K police continued with its clampdown on BJP and its youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists in Kashmir. The police achieved a major success when it, during a nocturnal raid on Saturday, arrested BJP’s state vice president Sofi Mohammad Yousuf.
The BJP’s leader arrest came after 300 posters, with Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and BJP leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani on it, were seized from six BJP activists on Saturday forenoon.
“Yousuf was booked under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC, which is preventive detention,” said a police source.
The BJP succeeded in pasting posters in several localities in Srinagar, which includes uptown Bemina, Tattoo Ground and Barbar Shah.
“We have been asked to take all measures to prevent any untoward situation, which can impact law and order in Kashmir,” said a senior police officer overseeing the crackdown on the condition of anonymity.
The police directed hotel owners in Srinagar to check credentials of guests. “We fear the BJP activists might have sneaked into Kashmir and hiding in hotels,” said the police officer adding “no such arrest has been made so far”.
The authorities are also mulling to close Jawahar Tunnel, which connects the valley with the rest of the country, on January 25, on the eve of Republic Day.
“Security forces are also deployed on the national highway to keep militants away and to stop any subversive activity,” said the police officer.
More than 100 additional companies have been deployed in the valley to stop BJP and separatist JKLF to reach to Lal Chowk’s city centre Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower). JKLF headquarters at Maisuma area might be sealed on the day.
Senior BJP leaders flagged off a rally from Kolkata on January 12 for Kashmir to unfurl the national flag in Srinagar. The move was challenged by separatist leader Yaseen Malik.
Meanwhile, security in and around the main venue in Srinagar, Bakhshi Stadium, has been beefed up. Additional troops have been deployed across Srinagar on the occasion of Republic Day.