Had to call off Bharat Jodo Yatra today due to lack of security arrangements in Kashmir: Rahul Gandhi : The Tribune India

Had to call off Bharat Jodo Yatra today due to lack of security arrangements in Kashmir: Rahul Gandhi

Congress alleges breach of security and mismanagement of crowd by Jammu and Kashmir administration

Had to call off Bharat Jodo Yatra today due to lack of security arrangements in Kashmir: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to walk 11 kms on Friday but had to call off after he barely walked 500 metres. Tribune Photo



Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 27

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today said that administration of Jammu and Kashmir failed to provide security to Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Addressing a press conference at Khanabal in Anantnag, Gandhi said, "I got a rousing reception soon after I entered Kashmir.

"However, police arrangement soon collapsed and cops, who were supposed to hold ropes around me were nowhere to be seen," Gandhi said.

He claimed that his security people became concerned and asked him to cancel his walk and the rest continued. "Its difficult for me to go against what my security people advise me," he said.

He said that it is the responsibility of the administration to guarantee the role of police.

 Meanwhile, terming the incident a "big security lapse", his party colleague Jairam Ramesh said Gandhi's security team is holding discussions with the Jammu and Kashmir administration to ensure that everything goes off smoothly for the next few days.

"Politics has its place but by playing with Rahul Gandhi's security in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has stooped to its lowest level," the Congress general secretary added in a tweet in Hindi.

India, he said, has already lost Indira Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and any government or administration should desist from playing politics on such issues.

Several party leaders echoed his concern, accusing the government of withdrawing security personnel around Gandhi and demanding action against those responsible for the alleged breach.

"Who ordered this?" asked AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.

"The authorities responsible must answer for this lapse and take appropriate steps to prevent such incidents in future," he said on Twitter Jammu and Kashmir's AICC in-charge Rajni Patil said "the security lapses indicate unfair and unprepared attitude of the UT administration".

"Due to security reasons, we had to stop the yatra temporarily as there was crowd mismanagement along the yatra route approved by the security apparatus," a senior Congress leader said.

Gandhi's security insisted that he stop the walk immediately and he drove instead to the guesthouse in Khanabal.

The morning started early with National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah joining Gandhi for the walk. Both leaders were dressed in similar white T-shirts in the 7 degrees Celsius chill.

Gandhi's white T-shirt look, even in north India's severe winter days, has been the subject of much debate and discussion.

They had walked for about three kilometres in the morning and drove through the 2.85 km Jawahar tunnel. After crossing the tunnel, party leaders accompanying Gandhi found there were no policeman to provide security at the scheduled halt. Gandhi's security team did not allow him to step out of the car.

Meanwhile, the Kashmir police in its official statement stated that only authorised persons as identified by organisers and frisked crowd was allowed towards the route of Yatra. “Organisers and managers of BJY did not intimate about large gathering from Banihal joining the Yatra, which thronged near the starting point. Full security arrangements were in place including 15 companies of CAPFs and 10 companies of JKP, comprising Road Opening Parties (ROP) and Quick Response Teams (QRTs), route domination, lateral deployment and security forces for high-ridge and other deployments,” it stated.

 The Congress leader will resume his journey on Saturday from Awantipora, 33 km from Srinagar. (With Agency Inputs)  

#Bharat Jodo Yatra #Congress #jammu #kashmir #rahul gandhi

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