BJP attacks PM statement on flag hoisting at Lal Chowk

Firing a salvo at Singh, senior leader L K Advani said BJP was "not trying to score a political point" but was instead challenging the separatists who had vowed to block the party's plan to hoist the tricolour. "And the State is surrendering to them," he said.

"If the rationale for the prohibitory orders is apprehension of breach of peace, curbs should be targeted towards those who have declared that they will not let the tricolour be put up at the Lal Chowk....

"And certainly not against those who have been repeatedly asserting that they will peacefully, and respectfully, unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk," Advani wrote in his latest blog posting titled 'Let not the State surrender to separatists'.

Advani's comments come a day after the Prime Minister asked parties to desist from scoring political points or promoting divisive agendas and exercise maximum restraint to ensure that peace is not disturbed in a "sensitive" state like J and K.

In Delhi, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, "The government has arrested members of Bharatiya Yuva Morcha. They have sealed all border points in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent their entry. This is unacceptable and undemocratic."

By doing so "they have surrendered to the separatists," he said and asserted that party activists have already travelled through 11 states and will hoist the Indian flag in J and K.
He slammed the "curbs" against the activists of Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, BJP's youth wing, by the state government.

As BJP showed no signs of abandoning its plan, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah chaired a high level meeting of the civil administration and security agencies in Srinagar to ensure peaceful Republic day.

"The Chief Minister reviewed the general law and order situation prevailing in the valley," an official spokesman said after the meeting held here last evening.

Hours after the meeting chaired by Omar, police swung into action and took BJP state unit's vice president Sofi Mohammad Yousuf into preventive custody late last night.

A senior police officer said the BJP leader has been taken into custody as a preventive measure under section 107 CrPC read with Section 151 CrPC.

Yousuf's detention was second direct action taken by the state government against the BJP as six party activists were arrested yesterday afternoon for violating the prohibitory orders in force in the city.

"They were pasting posters which could have led to breach of public peace. They were also found violating the Section 144 CrPC, which prohibits assembly of four or more persons," the officer said.

The state government has decided to deploy around 100 additional companies of police and paramilitary forces to scuttle any attempts by the BJP to march towards Srinagar.
Dubbing the decision of the Omar government not to allow BJP hoist flag at Lal Chowk as "perverse", Advani said the government should realise the "enormity of the shame our authorities are inviting for themselves" by their move.

The BJP parliamentary party chairman recalled how separatists had hoisted the Pakistani flag on Eid at Lal Chowk last year in full media glare and wondered why Indian flag cannot be hoisted at the historic place on Republic Day.

"The Supreme Court in its judgement in Jindal's case described the citizen's right to fly the national flag a fundamental right subject only to reasonable restrictions spelt out in the two statutes," Advani wrote.

Jaitley said the PM's statement that Republic Day celebrations should not be used as political agenda is regrettable.

"How can the prime minister think that hoisting a flag will divide the nation," the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha asked.

Describing the "crackdown" by the state government as a "panic reaction", he said the actions were "even more shameful as the UPA government took no action against various groups of separatists who had gone to New Delhi a few months back and openly spoke of dividing a particular state and about sedition.

"Is hoisting the national flag a provocative issue? By preventing the BJYM workers, they have surrendered to the separatists.

"The prime minister and the Congress party have to give some clear answers on why they are taking action against patriots and no action against separatists," Jaitley said, adding hoisting the Indian flag is a peaceful assertion of nationalistic sentiment in a sovereign land.

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