Flashpoint Lal Chowk:BJP Flag Triggers Shutdown

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Police sets free the ‘culprits’ saying unfurling national flag no offense

SRINAGAR:  After an attempt from two youths from Jammu region to unfurl Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) flag on Clock Tower in Lal Chowk here, traders in the city’s commercial and political nerve centre observed a a spontaneous shutdown against what they called a ‘deliberate attempt from communal elements’ to disturb peace in Kashmir Valley.

Eyewitnesses said that two youth from RS Pora Jammu were spotted carrying saffron flag near clock tower Srinagar during wee hours Friday. Witnesses said that some traders and passersby apprehended and thrashed the duo. Agitated traders assembled near clock tower and denounced their action. They alleged that RSS backed youth wanted to disturb the peace here. Police reportedly apprehended the youth and lodged them in police station Maisuma.

The agitated traders closed their business as a mark of protest and demanded stern action against the ‘communal’ youth.

“I received a call from traders informing that two youth belonging to RSS were trying to unfurl BJP flag at clock tower. One youth was waving the flag while another was recording his activities on mobile who was spewing venom against Muslims. The traders even informed me that the youth carrying the flag was speaking against the Islam and Muslims. I rushed to spot to pacify the agitated traders. SP city East Harmeet Singh arrived there and informed us that police have arrested the duo and one of them is mentally unsound,” President Traders Federation, Lal Chowk Deen Muhammad Matoo said, according to the CNS.    

Matoo alleged that RSS is hell-bent to disturb the peace in Kashmir Valley. “As a mark of protest and inaction against these communal elements, traders observed a shutdown in the City Centre. We suffered losses just because of these communal elements and we demand that government should take the matter seriously and ascertain the facts,” he said.

SHO, Maisuma Me’raj Raina while identifying the duo as Sachin Kumar and Gourav Ram from RS Pora Jammu region said that they had tried to unfurl Indian tricolour and not the flag of any political party. “It is not a crime to unfurl Indian tri-colour and no case can be registered against them for their act,” he said adding that the duo have been released.

Meanwhile, Speaker, Kavinder Gupta during the normal business of the House said that, “I have come to know that two youth have been arrested by police for raising Indian flag.”

“Those who raise flag of Pakistan should be arrested not those who raise Indian one,” Speaker told the house.

Meanwhile,  the lawyers from High Court staged a protest outside the court complex in Srinagar demanding stern action against the RSS backed youth who tried to unfurl what they said Indian flag atop clock tower. 

The protesting lawyers led by President High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom alleged that RSS-BJP backed communal elements arrive from different parts of India to disrupt peace in the Kashmir Valley. “India has occupied Jammu and Kashmir illegally and no Indian has any right to unfurl their country’s flag here,” he said. 

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