BJP to Omar: Join us in hoisting the flag
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said it had the right to hoist the national flag anywhere in the country, with party MP Anurag Thakur even asking Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah to join in the party's plan to unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar Jan 26.
"We are living in a free nation and we have the right to hoist our national flag anywhere in the country. So what is the problem in hoisting the tri-colour at Srinagar's Lal Chowk in Kashmir Valley?" said Thakur in Chandigarh.
"Despite all opposition, we invite Omar Abdullah to accompany us to Lal Chowk. This is a good opportunity for Abdullah to prove his loyalty towards the country," said Thakur told reporters here Saturday.
Thakur, who is the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president and the MP from Hamirpur seat in Himachal Pradesh, is leading the Rashtriya Ekta Yatra, or campaign for national unity which started Jan 12.
The march is to culminate Jan 26 with the BJP's planned national flag hoisting at Srinagar's Lal Chowk, though the Jammu and Kashmir government has said this will not be allowed.
"There are only a handful of weak people who are against this initiative. We should not let separatists dictate things to us. We have to ignore them. We are committed to pursuing our campaign peacefully and do not pose any threat to the law and order situation," he added.
This yatra is expected to cross the border town of Lakhanpur in Jammu on Jan 24 and then it would head towards Srinagar.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has expressed deep reservations about the BJP's flag hoisting plan, terming it a bid to inflame communal passions in the valley, and separatist leaders have also voiced their strong opposition to it.
The 15-day yatra, which was flagged off by BJP president Nitin Gadkari in Kolkata Jan 12, is expected to cover a distance of over 3,000 km and pass through 12 states.
Thakur also accused the Jammu and Kashmir government of supporting separatists in the valley.
"The Omar Abdullah government is not doing anything to bring back the land of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. They have adopted a very lenient attitude towards separatists and are the least concerned about their own people," said Thakur.
He added, "They have given Rs 5 lakh each compensation to the accused in stone pelting, who had injured over 2,500 policemen."
"They are providing a safe place for the activities of separatists and legally bringing terrorists to the valley. They are the biggest threat to Kashmir. If Kashmir is not safe, then it would be a threat to the whole country."