The stormy Ekta Yatra of the Bharatiya Janata Party ended on Wednesday after the hoisting of the tricolour by its senior leaders at Kathua in the Jammu division.
Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir government released them after a nightlong detention. The leaders vowed to rake up the issue in Parliament and termed it the worst scenario after the Emergency.
Senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Shanta Kumar and Anurag Thakur were released along with over 200 workers after which they organised a small function in Kathua and unfurled the tricolour.
Later, they arrived in Jammu and addressed a press conference. Rejecting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's late-night offer on Tuesday to join the Republic Day celebrations at an official function in Jammu, Ms. Swaraj told journalists that the invitation was “meaningless and mere lip service.” She said they were released at 12.40 p.m. while the official parade began at 10 a.m.
While Mr. Abdullah invited us to the function “we were under custody in his place.” BJP leaders were held hostage by the government right from their arrival at the Jammu airport on Monday and were sent back to Punjab. “Yesterday [on Tuesday] we were again arrested and our only fault was that we were carrying the tricolour,” Ms. Swaraj said, adding that it happened for the first time after the Emergency during 1975-77. She said the Yatra was “now officially over.”
Mr. Jaitley alleged that the Jammu-bound train of BJP workers was hijacked. It was done to “appease separatists.”
“Everything they did was illegal and we will raise this in Parliament,” he said. “It is ideological surrender and exposes the flawed policy of the UPA over Kashmir.”
Minister's car attacked
Soon after the leaders addressed the media, BJP workers stopped the official car of Finance Minister A.R. Rather outside the BJP office at Kachi Chawni in Jammu. They jabbed at the car and plucked and threw away the State flag. When they tried to break the windowpanes of the car, the police intervened and dispersed the mob.
Mr. Rather was on his way to the Raj Bhavan to attend the “At Home” hosted by Governor N.N. Vohra. “He escaped unhurt but the car suffered some damage,” a close aide of the Minister said.