Tower of trouble in heart of Srinagar | india | Hindustan Times
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Tower of trouble in heart of Srinagar

india Updated: Jan 25, 2011 23:49 IST
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Many believe communists gave the name Lal Chowk to the central part of Srinagar in 1917 because that was the year of the Russian revolution.

In doing so, they named it after Moscow's Red Square. The clock tower at Lal Chowk was, however, built in the 1980s by a watch company, and this is confirmed.

It's a freezing morning in Srinagar and policemen bundled in layers of clothing are guarding the dilapidated clock tower, where the BJP plans to hoist the national flag on Republic Day.

The "Go India Go Back" slogan of the militants is still visible at the base of the tower.

The policemen are not only checking every person they think is suspicious. Not a single vehicle plying on the road goes unnoticed.

"My hands are frozen but we have to do our duty," said Noor Mohammad (name changed), a policeman on duty.

"It happens every year but this year there is so much more tension," he added.

The adamant posture of the BJP is leading to a volatile situation.

JKLF vice-president Bashir Ahmed told HT from his hideout: "The BJP wants to challenge the conscience of Kashmiris by declaring a war. Let them come without security and we will show them."

The security personnel are nervous.

A CRPF trooper said: "The BJP doesn't know what this means for us. If one stone is thrown again, there will be no stopping them (separatists)."

Mohammad has a solution.

"Like at the secretariat and other government buildings, a flag should be hoisted permanently on the clock tower."

Anyone listening?