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Lal Chowk turns fortress to keep off BJP men

Last updated on: January 25, 2011 13:13 IST

Lal Chowk turns fortress to keep off BJP men

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

Tension mounted in Jammu and Kashmir capital Srinagar, as state authorities shut the Jammu-Srinagar national highway to prevent entry of Bharatiya Janata Party activists who are planning to hoist the national flag in Lal Chowk locality of the city.

A senior police officer said the highway that links Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country will remain closed for two days, beginning on Tuesday morning.

"This is a preventive step, as we don't want anybody to disrupt the peace in the Valley," the officer said.

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Image: Security personnel conducting a search op in a bus
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com
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Lakhanpur bridge, the entry point to Jammu and Kashmir from neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh has already been sealed with thousands of police and Central Reserve Police Force troopers being deployed in the area.

The area virtually resembled a battle zone with multi-barrel teargas vehicles and water canons having been deployed in area.



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Lal Chowk, the city centre where the BJP intends to unfurl the tri-colour, was tense on Tuesday morning as security arrangements were further beefed up in the area.

Although no restrictions have been imposed in the city so far, but because of heightened tensions most locals preferred to remain indoors.



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The movement of traffic was also thin in Lal Chowk.

Pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik has gone underground to evade arrest by the authorities, as he too has called for a counter march -- supported by the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference -- to Lal Chowk on Wednesday



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