BJP activists held in Kashmir, celebrations peaceful
Republic Day parades passed off peacefully across the Kashmir Valley Wednesday even as seven Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists were arrested to foil the party's proposed flag hoisting march to Lal Chowk here.
Six activists were taken into custody immediately after they came out of a hotel near Lal Chowk and began walking towards the city centre. Another activist was arrested in Residency Road area adjacent to Lal Chowk when he appeared with a national flag and the BJP flag.
Security in and around Lal Chowk had been mounted since Tuesday to scuttle the proposed marches by the BJP and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Wednesday.
Authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in Srinagar.
State finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather unfurled the tricolour and took salute at the Bakshi Stadium, the main Republic Day parade venue here, as smartly turned out contingents of police, paramilitary, civil defence and school children march passed the podium.
All roads leading to the venue were sealed and entry was highly regulated through special passes.
Cultural programmes were also held at the stadium after the parade in which cultural diversity of the state was highlighted by various performing groups.
"Dialogue and negotiations are the only way out of the present problem, and we appeal everyone to come forward and join the dialogue process," the minister said.
He highlighted the achievements of the Omar Abdullah-led Congress-National Conference government, which completed its two years in office early this month.
All mobile phone connectivity across the valley remained suspended since morning as a security precaution.
Many times in the past, separatist guerrillas have carried out improvised explosive device explosions using mobile phones.
Impressive parades were also held in all the districts, with senior ministers unfurtling the Indian flag.
No major untoward incident was reported in the valley though some black flags were seen in Srinagar's Old City areas in response to the separatist appeals to observe the Republic Day as a black day.