(Jammu and Kashmir): Police columns with armoured
vehicles were Monday moving around and all incoming buses being
checked at Lakhanpur, the gateway to the state, which resembles a
battle zone ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) planned
march to Srinagar's Lal Chowk Jan 26 that the government has vowed
Most policemen deployed in this small roadside town which faces
Madhopur, a tourist resort of Punjab across the bridge over river
Ravi, are from the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police, equipped with
canes and teargas canisters. And they are keeping a strict vigil
over the bridge and the river bed.
"We are under instructions to foil any attempt by the BJP marchers
to enter this point," one of the police officials standing in the
middle of the nearly 100 metre bridge told visiting reporters. The
middle of the bridge is believed to be the dividing line between
Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
More than 2,000 police personnel have been deployed on the Jammu
and Kashmir-Punjab border. Many more are on stand by.
Fresh instructions are being relayed to police officers on mobile
phones or wireless sets, their superiors demanding to know the
latest situation. There is apprehension that the BJP workers from
other states might enter Jammu and Kashmir in the guise of Vaishno
Devi pilgrims and cause trouble inside the state.
BJP plans to unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar Jan 26
even though the Kashmir government has opposed the plan, fearing
it will create a law and order problem in the valley.
The road coming from Punjab, better known as National Highway I-A,
is the only road link that Jammu and Kashmir has with the rest of
the country. Lakahanpur has various entry points, one is from the
bridge, and then there is a kuccha road and then the riverbed,
which is dry because the river water has been tamed by a barrage.
Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, Zahida Khan, under whose jurisdiction
this area falls, has visited the town several times, passed on
instructions, but she refuses to answer the questions of
A senior police officer told IANS: "All necessary measures have
been taken to prevent BJP activists from entering into Jammu and
Kashmir." He disclosed that police were under instructions to "use
force whenever it becomes necessary".
Even supply trucks, which are usually exempted from any searches,
are being searched. All supplies to Jammu and Kashmir come via
Local residents can't recall this kind of police strictness in the
area. "I don't recall police being deployed in such strength here
ever," Gopal Krishan, 54, who runs a small eatery on the roadside,
He said this was not the case even during a march by the BJP 19