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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BJP Flag Issue: Swaraj, Jaitley Arrested

BJP yatra stopped at J&K border; Swaraj, Jaitley, Ananth Kumar arrested.

Sushma Swaraj and Arun JaitleyAmid high drama, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s flag yatra was stopped at the Lakhanpur border of Jammu and Kashmir with its three senior leaders being arrested even as they lashed out at the State government and the Centre for committing a “historic mistake“.

A day after being sent back from Jammu and Kashmir, senior leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar tried to re-enter the State along with the Ekta Yatra being led by the party’s youth wing president Anurag Thakur but it was foiled by police which had put a barricade.

“What can be more unfortunate that those who burn the National Flag are being provided security while those holding the National Flag are being stopped,” said Ms. Swaraj as she was being arrested along with Mr. Jaitley, Mr. Kumar and Mr. Thakur on entry into Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab.

They were arrested for violating Section 144 which prohibits assembly of more than four persons at any particular place.

“What is our crime? Why are we being arrested? We have been marching peacefully,” Ms. Swaraj said while addressing thousands of party supporters.

Earlier, Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Jaitley addressed a public meeting at Madhopur on Punjab border and vowed to go ahead with the plans to to unfurl the national tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

“Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said if you visit the State, the separatists will be provoked. This shows the psychological surrender (by the State government) before the separatists... it is a historic mistake,” Mr. Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said.

Later, a group of activists were seen crossing the bridge on the Ravi river on the Punjab-J&K border where they were stopped by security forces.

The BJYM activists continued to shout slogans demanding that they be allowed to proceed to Srinagar to hoist the tricolour at Lal Chowk.

Mr. Jaitley said when a “group of separatists” gathered in New Delhi and made anti-India speeches, the government did not take action contending that freedom of speech was their right.

“But when we took he tricolour to unfurl it at Lal Chowk, they dub it as a crime,” he said.

Dave Lindahl Scam

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