SRINAGAR, July 25 (PTI): The BJP on Monday held the first-ever Tiranga bikers rally at the once separatist strong-hold of Lal Chowk in the city centre here to pay tributes to the fallen soldiers of the 1999 Kargil War.
The bikers rally to the Kargil War Memorial in Dras area of the Ladakh Union territory was flagged off by the party’s National General Secretary Tarun Chug, and Bangalore South MP and president, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Tejasvi Surya.
The flag-off event near the historic ‘Ghanta Ghar’ (clock tower) in Lal Chowk was held amidst unprecedented security arrangements as the whole area was sealed and security forces, including senior officers, were present in large numbers.
The security forces used drones to keep an eye on the event – for which traffic and public movement was diverted.
The city centre used to be a stronghold of the separatists in the erstwhile state of J-K. In the 2008 and 2010 unrest, the separatists used to call for peoples’ march to Lal Chowk, demanding freedom.
On Monday, ‘Azadi’ slogans of a different kind reverberated at the city centre. The BJP leaders raised slogans of ‘Azad Hindustan Zindabad’, ‘Akhand Bharat Zindabad’, and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ among others.
They waived the tricolour and sang patriotic songs.
While many political parties have held events, including hoisting of tricolour, at the Lal Chowk before as well, this is the first time such a rally was organised by any political party to pay tributes to soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil War.
A police official said about 100 bikes were part of the rally in which members of the BJYM from different parts of the country participated. The rally will culminate at the Kargil War Memorial on Tuesday, on the occasion of Vijay Divas.
Speaking at the event, Chug trained guns at the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said the twin families of Abdullah’s and Mufti’s ruled Jammu and Kashmir for the past 70 years “but made it a terrorism capital, while the Prime Minister has made it a tourism capital and took it on a path of progress”.
“Mehbooba lives some yards away from here. She used to say that if you revoke (Article) 370, then you will not find hands to hoist the tricolour. I want to tell her to come to Lal Chowk and see the residents of Kashmir holding the tiranga. Every person has a tiranga in his heart,” Chug said, asking people to raise the slogan of ‘Azad Hindustan’ in a loud voice so that it reaches Muftis and Abdullahs.
Targeting Abdullahs and Muftis, Chug said they used to claim that Article 370 cannot be abrogated, but Modi made it possible.
“This is a state where a new story of development is being written. The works undertaken by Modi are speaking loud. Modi gave a sense of development, security, and belief to the people of J-K.
“The three families – Abdullah and sons, Mufti and sons, and Nehru and sons — had plundered J-K and they still want to plunder it more by forming the Gupkar alliance. But, the people of J-K do not accept them now. In today’s motorcycle rally, the country’s youth are marching for making India of Modi’s dreams, a powerful India,” the BJP leader said.
He said Kashmir couldn’t move forward in 70 years, but the “properties of these three families increased by many folds”.
“Sometime they demand talks with Pakistan and sometimes with China, but I want to tell them that the youth of India will only talk to the youth of India. The central government and the BJP will meet and listen to the youth of Kashmir,” he said.
Chug said the bikers rally was organised to pay tributes to the fallen soldiers of the Kargil War.
“These youth including the youth from different parts of the valley are going to Kargil where India’s sons sacrificed their life but did not budge even an inch of the country’s land,” he said.
Neha Joshi, national vice president, BJYM, Delhi, said she is proud to be a part of the historic event.
“This yatra has been organised by the youth of Kashmir. We have come here to become a witness of this historic event and take this message to the different corners of the country,” she said.