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Union Home Minister Amit Shah likely to hoist national flag from Srinagar’s Lal Chowk

A report on Business Today states that Union Home Minister Amit Shah will travel to Srinagar and hoist the national flag from the iconic Lal Chowk on August 15. The website has quoted IANS citing sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Though there is no official statement on Shah’s visit to the state, high security measures are being put in place. Ministry officials speaking to the news agency have said that the dates could not be confirmed due to the security threat. One official said, “It’s a security concern. Amid escalating tension between the two countries (India-Pakistan), the Home Minister’s visit cannot be revealed in advance”.

Security protocol dictates that the itinerary of the Home Minister is shared with the Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) as well as the relevant agencies at the last minute. If Amit Shah does visit the valley and unfurl the Tricolour from Lal Chowk, he won’t be the first to do so.

BJP leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Murli Manohar Joshi, have achieved the feat in 1992 even with the specter of a high-level threat from terrorist groups lurking in the background. Before them, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the Indian Tricolour at the same place in 1948. Many security experts believe that unfurling the national flag on Independence Day at Lal Chowk will send a strong message to pro-Pakistan terror groups.

After revocation of Article 370, the Valley has remained tense with tight security and curfew in several areas. Local politicians and separatist leaders who were detained prior to the announcement of revocation, are still in custody. People in the Valley observed Eid al-Adha amid strict restrictions, with no major incidents of violence being reported from the Union Territory.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who is in the Valley to assess the security situation, took an aerial survey of the city as well as South Kashmir to ensure that the festival is celebrated without any untoward incidents.

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