Srinagar: The J&K police on Wednesday foiled an attempt made by non-local activists of two right-wing Hindu organisations to hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk, the historic square and commercial hub of summer capital Srinagar.
The activists of Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal had relocated to Srinagar from different parts of the country, mainly Jammu, to hoist the tricolour at the clock-tower of Lal Chowk. But the police quickly swung into action and detained them.
A police spokesman justified the action saying it was done to avoid breach of peace in the Valley. The attempt was made early on Wednesday morning when not much public movement was visible at the central square and the marketplaces around it had not opened.
Before being bundled into police vehicles, the leader of the activists told reporters that they decided to come to Kashmir after former chief minister and opposition National Conference (NC) president Dr. Farooq Abdullah had challenged the Centre to hoist the tricolour at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk before dreaming of doing it in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. He said. “If Farooq Abdullah wants to return to power, he should make efforts to address the problems and issues being faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir including providing employment to its jobless youth instead of indulging in political gimmickry”.
Mr Abdullah who is also a member of Lok Sabha representing Srinagar constituency had on November 27 while speaking to reporters in winter capital Jammu said that the Centre should first try to hoist the tricolour at Srinagar’s Lal Chowk before talking about unfurling it in PoK.
His statements had evoked sharp criticism in and outside Jammu and Kashmir. His challenging New Delhi to hoist the tricolor at Lal Chowk was termed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as “childish” and “playing to the gallery” on part of the octogenarian opposition leader and three-time chief minister.
Shiv Sena asked Mr Abdullah to choose the day and the time when “thousands of patriot Indians will travel to Srinagar to hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk or at any other chosen place.”
On the other hand, pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Muhammad Yasin Malik while reacting to the NC leader’s remarks that independent Kashmir was not viable or a reality and that India should instead restore internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the issue accused him of “always playing non-serious and selfish politics”. He also said that the Kashmiris never take Abdullah’s words and personality seriously.