Union Home Minister Amit Shah may unfurl the national flag from the famous Lal Chowk in Srinagar on August 15. Although the Jammu and Kashmir police headquarters is yet to confirm Shah's visit, high security measures are being put in place to ensure the Home Minister's visit to the state, IANS reported. The news agency, citing sources in Ministry of Home Affairs, said Shah might visit curfew-hit J&K but exact dates could not be confirmed due to security reasons. "It's a security concern. Amid escalating tension between the two countries (India-Pakistan), the Home Minister's visit cannot be revealed in advance," the official told the agency.
As per the protocol, the itinerary of the Home Minister is shared at the last minute with the government co-ordinating agencies, including Border Security Force and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). Security experts believe that if Shah hoists the Tricolour from Lal Chowk on Independence Day, it could send a strong message to Pakistan and terrorist groups emanating from the country. Meanwhile, Shah will not be the only BJP leader to unfurl the national flag from Lal Chowk. His mentors and BJP stalwarts, Murli Manohar Joshi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had hoisted the Tricolour from Lal Chowk in 1992 despite the high-level threat from Pakistan-based terrorist groups. India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had also unfurled the national flag from Lal Chowk in 1948.
Meanwhile, the security situation in the Valley remains tense, with curfew in place in several areas. Several people who were detained before the revocation of Article 370 are still in preventive custody. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who is in the Valley to assess the overall security situation in the state, on Monday undertook an aerial survey of the city and South Kashmir areas as the Valley celebrated Eid al-Adha amid strict restrictions. No major incidents of violence were reported from the state on Eid, said reports. Lal Chowk has been a place for political meetings for several decades, with various national and Kashmiri leaders having addressed people from it.
Edited by Manoj Sharma