“Had To Call Off My Walk…”: Rahul Gandhi Alleges Security Lapse At Yatra

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Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was scrapped today in Jammu and Kashmir with the Congress alleging “very serious security lapses” as the march entered the Kashmir Valley.Rahul Gandhi was to walk 20 km in Kashmir today but had to stop after about a km. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference, was with him.As Rahul Gandhi crossed the Banihal Tunnel on his way to Srinagar, a large, unexpected crowd was waiting for him, said Congress leaders.”Police personnel supposed to manage the crowd were nowhere to be seen. The police arrangement collapsed after we exited the tunnel. My security got uncomfortable, so we had to cancel. I had to call off my walk because I can’t go against my security people,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters later.”It is the administration’s responsibility to guarantee crowd control,” the Congress MP added.The Congress blamed a “sudden withdrawal of security personnel” and mismanagement of crowds by the Jammu and Kashmir administration mismanaged the crowds.Rahul Gandhi couldn’t move for about 30 minutes, Congress leaders said. Eventually, he was taken away in a security vehicle and the party called off the yatra for the day.”The police drove off after we crossed Banihal Tunnel,” said Congress leader KC Venugopal.”There were no police for proper security of Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah. There were very serious security lapses. Rahul Gandhi was going without any security. We are very concerned about the security aspect,” Mr Venugopal said.”Who ordered this? The authorities responsible must answer for this lapse and take steps to prevent such incidents in future.”Congress leader Rajni Patil tweeted that the administration “failed to provide security to the Bharat Jodo Yatra” and that the security lapses indicated “unfair and unprepared attitude of the UT administration”.The Yatra was called off earlier on Wednesday due to poor weather and landslides.The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari on September 7, will end on January 30 in Srinagar after covering 3,970 km, 12 states and two Union territories.Omar Abdullah said he joined the Yatra as he was concerned about the image of the country.”The Bharat Jodo Yatra is not aimed at improving the image of Rahul Gandhi but for improving the situation in the country,” the National Conference said when he arrived at Banihal, 120 km from Srinagar, to join the march.”We have not joined this for the image of an individual but for the image of the county,” he said.