The Jammu and Kashmir administration dismissed allegations levelled by the Congress that there was a security lapse in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which entered the Kashmir Valley on Friday. Earlier in the day, Gandhi cancelled the walk and claimed that police arrangements “completely collapsed”.
“The government is acutely mindful of the security concerns and all arrangements have been made to ensure the best possible security for the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra,” said RK Goyal, additional chief secretary of the home department of Jammu and Kashmir, responding on the so-called security breach.
Goyal said the size of the crowd was larger than planned, creating an “impression” that there was a lack of security arrangements. He further said a large portion of the yatris from Banihal, who were supposed to return, continued walking to the Kashmir side.
“The size of the crowd was larger than planned, which led to pressure on available security resources and created the impression that security arrangements were not in place. However, 15 companies of paramilitary forces and 10 companies of J&K police were deployed,” Goyal said.
He added: “Contrary to arrangements worked out between Bharat Jodo Yatra organisers and security establishment, a large portion of the crowd from Banihal side, who were supposed to have returned to Banihal, rushed to Kashmir side.”
The J&K Police rejected the Congress charge and said there was no security lapse, and that the organisers had not informed the police about a large crowd joining the march from Banihal. “The Jammu and Kashmir Police was not consulted before the Bharat Jodo Yatra was discontinued. We will provide foolproof security (to the yatra),” said additional director general of police Vijay Kumar, who is in charge of security in the Kashmir Valley, in a statement.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said it was “disconcerting” to see a lapse in Gandhi’s security detail as India had already lost two prime ministers (referring to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi) and scores of leaders. He demanded better security for the yatris, saying it was the government’s responsibility.
Lapse in Shri @RahulGandhi’s security detail in Jammu & Kashmir during #BharatJodoYatra is disconcerting to say the least.It is GOI’s prime responsibility to provide security.
India has already lost two PM’s and scores of leaders & we demand better security for the Yatris.
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) January 27, 2023
With inputs from News18