Police Denies, Says There’s ‘No Security Lapse At All’
Anantnag: Rahul Gandhi On Monday alleged that there was a “complete collapse” of security arrangements in the Qazigund area of Anantnag district Friday morning, during his “Bharat Jodo Yatra”, following which he canceled his walk after treading only one Kilometre of the scheduled eleven Kilometres.
“The police people who were supposed to hold the rope and manage the crowd were nowhere to be seen. So my security people were very uncomfortable, with me walking further on the Yatra,” Gandhi told reporters at a presser in the Khannabal area of Anantnag district.
So, he said, I had to cancel my walk while other Yatris continued with it. Police have denied that there was a security lapse on their part.
Gandhi reached the Qazigund area of Anantnag district Friday morning, as a part of the “Bharat Jodo Yatra”. This is the last leg of the yatra, which will culminate in Srinagar on Sunday. The Yatra started on September 7 last year and has continued with Gandhi and his supporters walking over 3000 Kilometres, across India.
“We had quite a large crowd gathered (at Qazigund), and we were looking forward to walking on the Yatra,” Gandhi said during the presser. “It is important that police manage the crowd so that we can do the Yatra.”
Gandhi further said that it was difficult for him to go against what his security people were recommending.
Gandhi was joined by National Conference leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah in Qazigund where both of them were seen climbing atop a vehicle and waving to the crowds.
Omar was also wearing a white half-sleeved t-shirt as he joined Gandhi, despite the biting cold and sub-zero temperatures. Gandhi’s white t-shirt has been subjected to severe scrutiny and criticism, from its price to what he was wearing underneath the t-shirt.
The other Yatris, meanwhile, completed the 16 Kilometre walk as per Congress stalwart and an organizing member of the BJY, Jai Ram Ramesh.
“Whatever happened today was really unfortunate. Rahul’s security team and the administration is holding deliberations, as of now, for smooth conduct of the Yatra on Saturday,” Ramesh told media men in Khannabal.
Following the accusations, the Jammu and Kashmir Police issued a statement maintaining that there was no security lapse on their part while maintaining that the 0rganisers of the BJY did not intimate the police about a large crowd getting assembled.
“Only authorized persons as identified by organizers & frisked crowd was allowed inside towards the route of Yatra. Organizers & managers of BJY did not intimate about large gathering from Banihal joining the Yatra, which thronged near the starting point,” the police statement read.
The statement further read that full security arrangements were in place including 15 Coys of CAPFs and 10 Coys of JKP, comprising of ROPs and QRTs, route domination, lateral deployment, and SFs were deployed for high-ridge and other deployments.
“JKP was not consulted before taking any decision on discontinuation of Yatra after conducting 1 km yatra by organizers. The rest of yatra continued peacefully. There was no security lapse at all. We will provide foolproof security,” the police have said.
Meanwhile, in Anantnag town, all roads leading to Khannabal, where Gandhi is supposed to stay for the night, were sealed by the authorities creating traffic chaos across the district.
People moving towards work, tuition, and even hospitals were not allowed to take any route passing through Khannabal. Restrictions were also imposed at some places along the NH-44 and the old National Highway, causing severe inconvenience to the general public.
“I had come from Banihal for we have a surgery scheduled today and they are not allowing me to enter Anantnag town. What am I supposed to do?” a person told Kashmir Reader who was put to a halt on NH-44.
Other people also lamented the curbs, which the sources said, will last till Gandhi was in town.