However, Kashmir’s mainstream political leadership expressed “disappointment” on the verdict.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi cancelled his foot march because of “security collapse,” soon after the Bharat Jodo Yatra entered the Kashmir valley on Friday.
Gandhi told the reporters at Khanabal that the security arrangements “collapsed” and cops, who were supposed to hold ropes to make a cordon around him, were nowhere to be seen.
“My security people became concerned and advised me against undertaking the foot march as a result of which, I had to cancel my foot march, while other party leaders and participants continued to walk. It was not possible for me to go against for what my security people advised,” said Gandhi.
He said that it was the responsibility of the administration to guarantee proper security for him and hoped that proper security arrangements would be made during the next 3 days of the Yatra in Kashmir and also at the public meeting on 30 January in Srinagar.
In a tweet, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who joined the Yatra, tweeted; “I’m witness to this. The outer ring of the cordon, which was maintained by the 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 11 KM walk but unfortunately it had to be cancelled”.
Meanwhile, the Kashmir Police reacting to the allegations tweeted; “Full security arrangements were in place including 15 Coys of CAPFs and 10 Coys of JKP, comprising ROPs and QRTs, route domination, lateral deployment and security force were deployed for high-ridge and other deployments”.
The police in another tweet claimed; “JKP was not consulted before taking any decision on discontinuation of Yatra after conducting 1 km yatra by organizers. Rest of yatra continued peacefully. There was no security lapse at all. We will provide foolproof security.
“Only authorised persons as identified by organizers & frisked crowd was allowed inside towards the route of Yatra. Organizers & managers of BJY did not intimate about large gathering from Banihal joining the Yatra, which thronged near the starting point”, police added.
Congress leader, Jairam Ramesh said that Gandhi had to walk 16 kms upto Anantnag, but had to scrap his foot march after 4 kms as large unmanageable crowds came in and police was missing.
The former Congress president entered the valley in the morning to be joined by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who also wore a white T-shirt amidst snow. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti are scheduled to join him on Saturday.