In a decision that could prove to be the next flash-point in Kashmir, the state government on Thursday decided not to allow the BJP to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on January 26.
A government press release said: “The flag-hoisting yatra will undo all the gains made in the last few months. It will be a provocative act and will have counter reaction.”
Chief minister Omar Abdullah said: “We are hoping that nothing will be done to precipitate the situation in the state.”
But a senior minister told HT: “It was unanimously decided that BJP activists will not be allowed to cross the Jawahar Tunnel.” The tunnel, 200 km north of Jammu, separates Jammu from Kashmir.
The cabinet decision was taken a day after chief minister called on home minister in New Delhi to discuss flag-hoisting yatra by Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM), youth wing of BJP. Omar in a guarded statement after the meeting had said, “..we are hoping that nothing is will be done to precipitate the situation in the State. As we come closer to Jan 26 we will decide.”
The state government decision based on its assessment of the situation in the backdrop of the Lal Chowk Chalo (march) call given by on Jan 26 by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, a separatist outfit headed by Yasin Malik.
Flag hoisting yatra, called Ekta Sankalp yatra, was flagged by BJP national president Nitin Gadkari from Kolkota on Jan 11.
BJP has categorically made it clear that it will go ahead with its scheduled programme. The party had said stopping the yatra will amount to appeasing separatists.