The Kashmir unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party took out a 'Tiranga' rally in Srinagar to celebrate Accession Day on Monday, with the party saying the participation of people in it was a "tight slap" on those making 'seditious' statements in the valley.
The Jammu and Kashmir government observed a public holiday on account of Accession Day, that marks the anniversary of signing of the Instrument of Accession by the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, with Union of India on October 26, 1947.
Scores of BJP leaders and workers assembled at the Tagore Hall where a function was organised to celebrate the occasion. It commenced with garlanding the pictures of Maharaja Hari Singh, Bharat Mata and Maqbool Sherwani, who delayed the invasion of Pakistan-backed tribesmen in Baramulla, a party spokesperson said.
He said it was followed by a 'Tiranga' rally, led by BJP general secretary and in-charge for Kashmir Vibodh Gupta, which began at the Tagore Hall and concluded at SKICC on the banks of the Dal Lake.
Dozens of vehicles, with the tricolor hoisted on each of them, were part of the rally which passed through Gupkar Road and the activists raised slogans outside the residences of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti there.
Speaking on the occasion, Gupta said the "overwhelming response" from the local people of Kashmir and "massive participation" in the Tiranga rally was "a tight slap on those so-called leaders of Kashmir who made seditious statements in the last few days".
"This massive rally stands as a testimony to the fact that Gupkar Declaration leaders are living in fool's paradise," he said, referring to the Peoples' Alliance for Gupkar Declaration -- the unified group of several mainstream parties including National Conference and PDP.
Mehbooba Mufti, in her first interaction with the media after her release from detention, had said she will not hoist the tricolor till the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was restored.
The BJP leader said it was on this day in 1947 when the then ruler of J-K, Maharaja Hari Singh, signed the Instrument of Accession of J-K with the Union of India, and this day was an important landmark in the history.
Gupta said Maharaja Singh's dream of J-K was being envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the mission of peace, prosperity and development in the valley was at its peak.
He called upon the youth of J-K to resolve on this historic day not to fall in the "trap of separatists" and "power-hungry" political parties including PDP and NC and commit themselves towards the cause of peace and prosperity.
SEE: BJP workers hoist national flag at PDP office in Jammu
Requesting India's help to push back tribal invaders, Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947, signed the Instrument of Accession which was duly accepted and signed a day later by Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor General of India.
While the anniversary of signing of the Instrument of Accession had remained insignificant in Jammu and Kashmir in the initial years after independence, the BJP and the National Panther's Party started celebrating the occasion as Accession Day over the past two decades.
After the abrogation of Article 370 and downgrading of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in August last year, the adminsitration officially notified October 26 as a public holiday.
All the offices, schools and educational institutions in the Union territory remained closed on account of the holiday.
3 held while trying to hoist tricolour at Srinagar's Lal Chowk
Three people, claiming to be Bharatiya Janata Party workers from Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, were on Monday detained while trying to hoist the tricolour at the historic clock tower near the city centre, officials said.
Three people tried to hoist the tricolour at 'Ghanta Ghar' (clock tower) in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk early Monday morning, the officials said.
They said the trio, claiming to be BJP workers from Kupwara district of north Kashmir, raised slogans of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and in favour of the party and tried to hoist the tricolour at the clock tower.
However, the police swung into action and took them into custody, they added.
Before being whisked away, one of the three said that he will hoist the tricolour in every part of Kashmir.
"Tell this to Mehbooba Mufti that I will hoist the flag in every part of Kashmir," he said, in reference to the Peoples Democratic Party president's recent statement that she will not hold the tricolour till the
flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was restored.
Jammu and Kashmir had a separate constitution and flag before the Centre revoked its special status in August last year.
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com