Rahul Gandhi alleges security lapse in Bharat Jodo Yatra, J-K Police rejects charge
28 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that the police arrangement "completely collapsed" during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in J&K, forcing him to "to cancel" his walk.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that the police arrangement “completely collapsed” during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, forcing him to “to cancel” his walk.
Senior congressional leaders also said that security was “mishandled by concerned agencies” on Friday. Jammu and Kashmir Police, on the other hand, refuted complaints of security lapses in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which reached the Valley on Friday. The Police stated preparations had been made to guarantee the greatest possible security for the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, and organisers and management had not been informed of a large gathering from Banihal joining the Yatra, which had gathered near the starting site.
Rahul Gandhi, according to BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia, has made false claims against security services. “It has become Rahul Gandhi’s habit to make baseless allegations. He has made wrong allegations against Kashmir Police. It appears that cheap politics is being practiced,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi, who briefly addressed a press briefing at Khanabal in Anantnag, said there was a large crowd and it is important that the police manage it.
“This morning, we had quite a large crowd that had gathered and we were looking forward to walking on the Bharat Jodo Yatra, but, unfortunately, the police arrangement completely collapsed and the police people, who were supposed to manage the crowd and hold the rope, were nowhere to be seen,” Gandhi said.
“So, my security people were very uncomfortable with me walking further on the yatra. So, I had to cancel my walk. The other yatris, of course, did the walk. I think, it is important that the police manage the crowd, so that we can do the yatra. It is very difficult for me to go against, what my security people are recommending,” he added.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration said that the size of the crowd was larger than planned.
Addressing a press conference, RK Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary (FC), Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir, said the government is acutely mindful of security concerns and all arrangements have been made to ensure the best possible security for the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“The size of the crowd was larger than planned which led to the pressure on the available security resources and created the impression that security arrangements were not in place. However, 15 companies of paramilitary forces and 10 companies of J-K police were deployed,” said Goyal.
He further said a large portion of the crowd from the Banihal side who were supposed to have returned to Banihal rushed to the Kashmir side.
“Contrary to arrangements worked out between Bharat Jodo yatra organizers and security establishment, a large portion of the crowd from Banihal side who were supposed to have returned to Banihal rushed to Kashmir side,” he said.
“The size of the crowd was larger than planned which led to the pressure on the available security resources & created the impression that security arrangements were not in place. However, 15 companies of paramilitary forces & 10 companies of J-K police were deployed,” he added.
Dismissing the Congress allegations, Kashmir Zone Police said that only authorized persons who were identified by organisers were allowed on the route of the yatra.
The police said that the organizers of the yatra did not inform about the large gathering from Banihal.
“Only authorised persons as identified by organisers and frisked crowd was allowed inside 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,” Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet.
The police said that full security arrangements were in place. “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. Rest of yatra continued peacefully. There was no security lapse at all. We will provide foolproof security,” the police added.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh accused the government of playing with security of Congress leader.
“Politics has its place but by playing with the security of Rahul Gandhi in the Kashmir valley, the government has stooped to its lowest level. India has already lost Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, any government or administration should desist from doing politics on such matters,” he said in a tweet.
Party leader KC Venugopal alleged that security had been “mishandled by concerned agencies”.
“For 15 mins, there have been no security officers with the Bharat Jodo Yatra here. This is a serious lapse. Rahul Gandhi and other yatris can not walk without security,” Venugopal told the media.
“The sudden withdrawal of security personnel from the D-area has caused a serious security breach at the Bharat Jodo Yatra at Banihal, Kashmir. Who ordered this? The authorities responsible must answer for this lapse and take appropriate steps to prevent such incidents in future,” Venugopal tweeted.
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