The BJP members were travelling in a special train to Srinagar to take part in the Ekta Yatra. The yatra culminates with hoisting of the Tricolour at Lal Chowk on the Republic Day. The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir governments have opposed the yatra. The separatists too have warned against unfurling the National Flag at Lal Chowk.
Lights went off
In what could be termed a well-planned strategy, lights went off as the Bangalore-New Delhi Karnataka Express reached Sarola station (near Ahmednagar). It was around 1.30 am and most of the party workers were asleep. The engine of the train was detached and re-attached at the rear end. Two bogies with 150 armed Railway Police Force jawans were also attached to the train., which started its return journey to Karnatka around 2.40 am, sources said.
Some of the workers who realised that they had been hoodwinked, stopped the train at Nagansur on Maharashtra-Karnataka border. This resulted in delaying of two trains scheduled on the same route.
In deep slumber
“Most of us were in deep sleep and only in the earning realised that the train was back in Daund station. It was only then that the Railway officials disclosed that the train was returning to Karnataka,” Shekhar Shetty, a BJP worker from Mangalore said.
As soon as the Ekta Yatra special train reached Ganagpur, the party workers were handed over to the Karnataka police. The activists demanded that they be allowed to travel to Srinagar. The train halted for over two hours before proceeding to Gulbarga.
The engine driver was asked not to stop the train at Gulbarga. But the irked workers brought it to a halt by pulling chain. Anticipating trouble, the BJP leaders and police tried to cajole the workers for over three hours. The train finally left at 4 pm.