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Valley resents yatra plan

Pro-independence leader Yasin Malik on Thursday gave a call for a march to Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26, thus coming into conflict with the BJP's plans to hoist the Tricolour at the same place the same day.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2011 00:44 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Pro-independence leader Yasin Malik on Thursday gave a call for a march to Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26, thus coming into conflict with the BJP's plans to hoist the Tricolour at the same place the same day.

"People have been asked to march peacefully to Lal Chowk on January 26. Let the world see whose flag is hoisted," said Malik, who is Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief.

The BJP's flag-hoisting plans have been criticised by many, including Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who apprehends law and order problems over this.

Abdullah has said "only the BJP will be responsible for the fallout of the march".

"We suggest (to the) BJP to cancel its programme in Srinagar. We will not allow anyone to create trouble in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP wants to add fuel (to the fire) and its designs will not be allowed to succeed."

People's Democratic Party patron and former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said: "The BJP resorts to such gimmicks whenever it is out of power. It did not talk of abrogating Article 370 (giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir) when in power."

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi undertook a similar march in 1992, and under heavy police protection hoisted the tricolour in Sringar on January 26 that year. The fact that the state was then under President's rule helped him.

Through the march the BJP wants to reinforce its nationalist image. On the other hand, Yasin Malik, who was sidelined by the Hurriyat leadership during last year's street protests, is trying to create a constituency for himself in Kashmir's separatist politics.

Flagging off the national unity march in Kolkata, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday: "J&K is an integral part of India and cannot be granted freedom or autonomy even if a section of the separatist forces demands it."