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Drop flag hoisting plan, Omar urges BJP

Shujaat Bukhari
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JKLF announces march to Lal Chowk on January 26

Omar Abdullah
Omar Abdullah

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party to stop its youth wing from going ahead with its flag hoisting programme in Lal Chowk on January 26. He feared that this step would create trouble in the Valley at a time when it was limping back to normality.

Inaugurating a community centre in the Zaina Kadal area of Srinagar downtown, Mr. Abdullah said the BJP's proposed Kashmir yatra could lead to a law and order problem. “It reveals their intention of creating trouble,” he said. “Hoisting the national flag atop Lal Qila [red fort] won't make a person more Indian. I request the BJP to drop the flag hoisting plan as it could provide a chance for some people to create a law and order problem,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Abdullah said that in 1992 also the BJP did the same thing. “Now the situation is improving. They are again doing this thing,” he regretted.Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) announced that it would march to Lal Chowk on January 26 and “will see who can hoist the flag.”

JKLF chairman Yasin Malik told The Hindu that “we will reply to the BJP in a democratic manner and see whose flag can be hoisted in Lal Chowk.”

‘Communally motivated'

Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq supported the JKLF call saying “the BJP's plan was communally motivated.”

Sources in the government said it might not allow the BJP programme as the battle lines were drawn between two parties now.

Mr. Abdullah, who for the first time after the summer unrest visited downtown, the nerve centre of violent protests, took a dig at separatists and said they were following a “dubious policy.”

“They are meeting parliamentarians who have no mandate and not meeting those who have mandate to do something,” he said, referring to the separatists' refusal to meet the three interlocutors appointed by the Union government.

Dialogue, he said, was the only way out to resolve the Kashmir issue.

“We have seen guns, stones and protests, but the Kashmir issue remains. We have witnessed progress only when India and Pakistan tried to take forward the dialogue process,” the Chief Minister said, urging the Hurriyat leaders to enter into a dialogue.

Mr. Abdullah criticised the opposition People's Democratic Party for vitiating the atmosphere and raising a “hue and cry” over power shortage.


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