No compromise with Rahul’s security in J&K: Jairam Ramesh

AICC leader Rahul Gandhi interacting with two young women during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Samba on Sunday. -Excelsior/Nischant
AICC leader Rahul Gandhi interacting with two young women during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Samba on Sunday. -Excelsior/Nischant

‘BJP has imposed undeclared emergency in country’
* BJY reaches Samba, Satwari rally today

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Jan 22: A day after twin bomb blasts rocked Narwal area of Jammu leaving nine people injured, senior AICC leader Jairam Ramesh today said that there will be no compromise on the security of Rahul Gandhi who is leading the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Yatra entered Kathua district of J&K on Thursday evening via Punjab. After a day’s break on Saturday, the Yatra, which commenced from Kanyakumari on September 7, resumed from Hiranagar this morning, and reached Nanke Chak in district Samba in the afternoon. It will start from Vijaypur on Monday morning and reach Satwari Chowk in Jammu on January 23 afternoon, where a rally will be addressed by Gandhi.
Before starting from Hiranagar Morh, Congress leaders including former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh paid tribute to party stalwart, Late Girdhari Lal Dogra at his ‘Samark’. Late Dogra was staunch Congressman and remained a popular Finance Minister in J&K and two time MP. Click here to watch video
The traffic had been diverted to different routes of border belt and the main Jammu-Pathnakote highway had been closed during Yatra time. Later, the traffic on the main highway was restored.
Many groups including a large group of lawyers led by J&K High Court Bar president, advocate, MK Bhardwaj joined Rahul Gandhi. He projected local issues of the people with Gandhi. Gandhi was greeted by many people waiting on both sides of the highway.
Another group of leaders, recently returned from Azad’s party (DAP), led by former DyCM Tara Chand, former PCC chief Peerzada Mohd Sayeed and Balwan Singh ( ex-MLA), joined Rahul Gandhi at breakfast point near Ghagwal. Gandhi interacted with them at breakfast and discussed with them overall political scenario in J&K.
Talking to media-persons later, senior party leaders said Gandhi is likely to celebrate Republic Day with the people of Jammu and Kashmir at Banihal, the gateway town to Kashmir valley on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
While referring to the security of Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh said the party’s stand is clear on terrorism and that there is no compromise in dealing with either the perpetrators or sponsors of terrorism.
“There will be no compromise on the security of Rahul Gandhi. His security is our topmost priority and we are following the guidelines of security agencies in totality,” Ramesh told media-persons at Nanke Chak in Samba, where the Yatra will stop for the night after covering a distance of 21 km from Hiranagar.
Ramesh, who is AICC general secretary and in-charge Communication Department of the party, alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party has imposed an ‘undeclared’ emergency in the country.
“An undeclared emergency is more dangerous than a declared emergency. The BJP has ended the spirit of democracy in the country. Though elections are taking place but that does not mean we are democratic,” he added.
Asked about the party’s stand on abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, the senior AICC leader said, “It is a serious issue, but what is more serious right now is the restoration of democratic activities in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“J&K has become an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs. There are real issues like when the Assembly elections will be held in the Union Territory of J&K and how will it get back full Statehood,” he added.
Senior AICC leader and in-charge J&K affairs of the party, Rajni Patil, J&K Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani and party chief spokesperson, Ravinder Sharma also addressed the press conference and asserted that the Yatra will conclude as per schedule.
“Rahul Gandhi is staying back in the Union Territory and is likely to hoist the tricolour at Banihal along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on the Republic Day,” JKPCC chief revealed.
On being asked about the nonparticipation of senior party leader Dr Karan Singh in the Yatra, Patil said she herself talked to him on phone. Singh conveyed his best wishes to Gandhi but said his health did not allow him to travel from Delhi and joint foot-march.
It may be recalled that two back-to-back explosions had rocked a busy locality on the outskirts of Jammu on Saturday, leaving nine people injured. Two IEDs were used to carry out the explosions in an SUV parked in a repair shop and in a vehicle at a nearby Junk-yard at Transport Nagar area of Narwal Bypass.
Condemning the attack, party spokesman Ravinder Sharma said the last leg of the Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir was chalked out in consultation with the security agencies.
“We are concerned about the safety and security of our leader. The twin explosions at Narwal and another in Bajalta a day earlier raise a question mark on the security arrangements,” he asserted.
“We accept that the security agencies are fully alert and are doing their job satisfactorily, but claims of the Government that terrorism has been finished falls flat in the wake of such incidents. On December 31 last, they (security agencies) claimed that terrorism had been eliminated and the next day there was an attack in Dhangri village of Rajouri, leaving seven people belonging to the minority community dead,” Sharma added.
The party chief spokesman further said that there will be no change in the Yatra programme as its nitty-gritty have been planned in accordance with the guidelines issued by the security agencies and the Lt Governor’s administration.
Many senior Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir including working president, Raman Bhalla, former JKPCC chief G A Mir, Mula Ram, Th Balbir Singh, Yogesh Sawhney, Hari Singh Chib ,Manmohan Singh, Pankaj Dogra, Neeraj Kundan, PYC chief Uday Bhanu Chib, Narinder Sharma and others joined Rahul Gandhi from Hiranagar and walked up to Nanke Chak in Samba.