When Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir was freezing under a cold wave, winter capital Jammu generated much heat on Monday, with BJP leader Sushma Swaraj tweeting on how she, along with Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, had been arrested at the airport.
The three leaders, who came on a chartered flight from Delhi, were taken into custody after a six-hour-long standoff and were bundled off in separate cars, escorted by 15 police vehicles, to the Madhopur bridge that connects Kashmir and Punjab.The BJP dispatched the three leaders to take command of tricolour hoisting at Lal Chowk in downtown Srinagar on Republic Day. On Sunday, several youth wing workers were prevented from entering the state.
Home minister P Chidambaram said in Delhi that he had called up Jaitley and asked the three leaders to return to Delhi now that they had made a point. “A public meeting (in Kashmir) is not possible.”
Swaraj tweeted from the tarmac: “It appears they have locked the terminal gates.”
Later, she said, "Initially, they were not allowing us to deplane. We are sitting on the tarmac…they are not allowing the plane to fly back."
She later followed up, saying: "You don't arrest us — you don't allow us to leave the airport. This is not the law that I read...Arun (Jaitley) and I are both lawyers..."
The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders then staged a sit-in inside the airport, while party activists raised slogans against chief minister Omar Abdullah outside and blocked the road next to the building.
Later Swaraj tweeted: "You are under arrest, they say." A minute later, she said: "Arrested — cars — separate — don't know where to?"
The state government, meanwhile, sealed off all the entry points from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. But there are reports that thousands of BJP activists had already sneaked into Lakhanpur, a border town where Jan Sangh founder Shyama Parsad Mukherjee was arrested on May 11, 1953.
Former Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh announced he would go on hunger strike from Monday night to protest the government's decision to prevent the flag hoisting in Srinagar.