BJP workers clash with cops, try to gherao J&K Assembly

MLAs among 150 protesters held in Jammu

Police on Thursday foiled the BJP’s gherao of J&K Assembly by resorting to lathicharge amid clashes and preventive arrests of over 150 party workers, including MLAs.

Led by the state BJP chief Jugal Kishore, over 2,000 party members, including MLAs, took out an Assembly gherao march, protesting against the alleged failure of National Conference -led government on the security front.

They were carrying placards and banners highlighting the alleged failure of Omar Abdullah government on all the fronts, particularly security front.

The BJP activists broke two police barricades at Press Club and Indra Chowk amid clashes with police and marched to the Assembly shouting anti-government slogans.

However, large number of policemen led by superintendent of police (city) S Johar intercepted the advancing march at Shalimar Chowk-Gulab Bhawa, barely 50 metre away from the Assembly, where government has imposed section 144 of CrPc.

Here pitched battles were fought between BJP activists and policemen, which resorted to lathicharge to disperse the rally.

The BJP activists were not allowed to reach the Assembly and their march was foiled by police.

Over 150 activists, including BJP state chief and MLA Jugal Kishore, leader of BJP legislative party Ashok Khajuria,

BJP national executive member, chief spokesperson Jitender Singh and MLAs Sham Choudhary, were taken into preventive custody and whisked away in three buses to police lines.

Singh claimed that 15 activists were injured in the lathicharge.

“We condemn the police lathicharge on our activists in which 15 of them were injured. There were peaceful protests but the government used force on us,” Kishore told reporters here.

“Our march and gherao of Assembly was aimed to protest the Omar government’s total failure on all fronts particularly security front. It was also against the demand of revocation of AFSPA raised by Omar,” he said.

Revisit policy

Under attack by the opposition for disarming of police and CRPF personnel under standard operation procedure on use of non-lethal weaponry in the Valley, Congress minister Sham Lal Sharma on Thursday said the policy needs to be reviewed.

“We will discuss disarming of police and CRPF under SOP. I think there is a need to re-visit this policy,” said Sharma.

Commenting on revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Minister said “Wednesday’s Fidayeen attack shows that militancy has not been fully stamped out from J&K.”

“I condemn the fidayeen attack on security forces. I do not feel our forces, army and para-military, are demoralised. Our jawans are brave and they are moving forward to stamp out terrorism,” Sharma said.

Replying to the questions of opposition and ruling National Conference about the issue of Afzal Guru, he said “the state is moving towards political bankruptcy.”

He condemned the politics being done by Peoples’ Democratic Party and NC on deaths on the basis of religion.

He said a death is a death, we should in totality condemn all of them.

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