“Police personnel who were supposed to manage the crowd were nowhere to be seen. I had to call off my walk because I can’t go against my security people,” PTI quoted Rahul as saying at Khanabal in Anantnag. He had crossed the Jawahar Tunnel from Jammu’s Banihal in a bulletproof vehicle and walked less than a kilometre towards the gateway to Kashmir division when the alleged security lapse brought his march to a halt.
Gandhi said he hoped the administration would ensure there are no further crowd-control or other security hiccups during the remainder of his march, scheduled to culminate in Srinagar on January 30.
Tagging Rahul in a tweet, Omar said, “I’m witness to this. The outer ring of the cordon which was maintained by J&K police simply vanished within minutes of @RahulGandhi starting to walk. We had just crossed in to Kashmir from Jammu & were looking forward to the 11km walk, but unfortunately it had to be cancelled.”
The day’s march from Banihal in Ramban district was to end at Vessu in Anantnag. “Politics has its place, but by playing with Rahul Gandhi’s security in J&K, the government has stooped to its lowest level,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.
J&K Police contested allegations of poor crowd management when Rahul’s march entered Qazigund. “JKP wasn’t consulted before taking any decision on discontinuation of the yatra… There was no security lapse at all. We will provide foolproof security,” additional DGP Vijay Kumar said. “Security arrangements for the march include deployment of 15 companies of central armed police forces and 10 companies of J&K Police, besides route domination.”
The morning had started with Omar causing a flutter with his display of sartorial solidarity with Rahul. The former J&K CM had initially refused to join the march over Congress extending a similar invitation to the controversial former minister and MP Lal Singh. Rahul ended up snubbing Singh’s supporters when they raised slogans in his support at Kathua.
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