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PM Narendra Modi recalls his visit to Lal Chowk over 30 years ago while speaking in parliament

The remark by PM Modi in his speech came as a response to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who recently concluded his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar's Lal Chowk and unfurled the national flag there.

On 8th February 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke in Lok Sabha in response to the motion of thanks to the President’s address. During his speech, he recalled his visit to Lal Chowk in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir where he unfurled the national flag as his Ekta Yatra of 1991 concluded there. This remark by PM Modi in his speech came as a response to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who recently concluded his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk and unfurled the national flag there.

PM Narendra Modi said, “The issue of Jammu and Kashmir was also discussed here in the house. And those who have recently visited to Jammu and Kashmir might have seen how you can go there and have a tour. In the second half of the last century, I too took a Yatra to Jammu and Kashmir with the intent to unfurl the tricolor at Lal Chowk. At that time, the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir had pasted posters that read ‘one who is a real son of his mother should try and dare to unfurl the Indian flag Tricolour at the Lal Chowk of Srinagar. We will see if he manages to go back alive.’ On 24th January of that year, I said in a public meeting in Jammu, that I will reach Lal Chowk on 26th January at 11 am sharp. I will come without any security. I will come without a bulletproof jacket. Who is the real son of his mother, will be decided in the Lal Chowk of Srinagar on 26th January.”

He added, “Those were the times. After unfurling the tricolor at Lal Chowk, people and media asked me usually our national flag is honored by our armed forces on 26th January. I told them that today even the armed forces of the enemy are saluting our national flag, as there were bullets fired around by the terrorists. Today there is peace. You can go there fearlessly in a group of hundreds. This is the situation there today. Today the people in Jammu and Kashmir are celebrating the festival of democracy. People there are observing the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign. Some people used to say that there can be a problem due to the tricolor in Jammu and Kashmir. See how the times have changed, even those people are participating in the Tiranga Yatra. When all this was happening, theatres in Srinagar were running houseful, and separatists were seen nowhere.

After the phenomenal success of the Ram Rath Yatra led by LK Advani, the BJP had come up with Ekta Yatra in 1992. Kashmir had then become home to Islamic terrorists and Kashmiri Pandits were compelled to leave their homes on 19th January 1990. Those who resisted were killed. Terrorists were openly threatening the Indian republic that they will draw out Kashmir from India on the basis of religion. Insulting the national symbols of India was one of the acts terrorists would repeatedly use to mock the largest democratic nation day in and day out. It was at this time that the BJP organized the Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Waving the Indian flag at the Lal Chowk in Srinagar was to be the conclusive point of this yatra. Modi was one of the key organizers of this yatra led by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi.

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