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Indian Flag

January 25, 2011 by staff 

Indian Flag, (AFP) – Police arrested Hindu nationalist politicians, including opposition leader on Tuesday in an attempt to move into Indian-administered Kashmir to hold a rally.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had planned to make Hindus young volunteers in the sensitive region with a Muslim majority in India Republic Day on Wednesday and hoist the national flag in the capital of Kashmir in Srinagar.

Kashmir is home to a long and violent separatist insurgency, and there are fears the proposed rally of the BJP could trigger major communal disturbances.

Parliamentary opposition leader Sushma Swaraj was among those arrested, along with several BJP workers, who were loaded into police buses.

“What have we done wrong that they stop us? We came here peacefully,” Swaraj told reporters. “We will certainly lift the flag (in Srinagar). We’re not leaving until the evening of 26.”

Anurag Thakur, president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of BJP, addressed the crowd of 3,000 strong who were turned back by police on the bridge in Lakhanpur state of Kashmir.

“We stopped to have hoisted the flag. We are not afraid of anyone,” he said.

The authorities blocked the road links between Kashmir and neighboring states as BJP gathered on the state border, chanting nationalist slogans and waving the Indian flag in protest against the blockade of the police.

Interior Minister P. Chidambaram urged the BJP to follow the orders of the state government of Kashmir and call off the plane the flag hoisting.

Pro-independence Kashmiris have also promised to protest the Republic Day, raising fears of a return to violence after the mass demonstrations against India last year in which at least 100 demonstrators were killed.

Kashmir is administered jointly by India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.

For 20 years, a separatist insurgency has raged in the Indian sector, claiming 47,000 lives.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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