‘We will raise tricolour when the “flag of Jammu and Kashmir” is allowed to be raised too,’ said PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti yesterday. “My flag is this (points to the flag of Jammu and Kashmir kept on the table in front of her). When this flag comes back, we’ll raise that flag (tricolour) too. Until we get our own flag back, we won’t raise any other flag…This flag (points at the Jammu and Kashmir flag) forged our relationship with that flag (points at the tricolour),” she said.
Following the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, the Jammu and Kashmir state flag, which used to fly along with the tricolour on the state civil secretariat, was removed.
Under the abrogated Article 370, the Indian Union permitted Jammu and Kashmir to have its own flag, which was red in colour with three equidistant white vertical stripes and a white plough.
The Jammu and Kashmir flag was removed from other government buildings as well.
The flag had been adopted by the state constituent assembly on 7 June 1952, The three stripes represented the state’s three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Hours after Peoples’ Democratic Party chief Mehooba Mufti spoke at her first press conference since being released from 14 months of detention, the BJP on 23 October accused her of making “seditious remarks”. The INC found Mufti’s demand unacceptable too while Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina told reporters, “I request Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take note of (the) seditious remarks of Mehbooba Mufti, book her for the seditious act and put her behind bars,” hitting out at the PDP president over the comments.
“We will sacrifice every drop of our blood for our flag, country and motherland. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of our country, so only one flag can be hoisted… and that is the national flag,” he said.
On centre’s move last year to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status last year, he said no decision taken by the government can be reversed. “I warn leaders like Mehbooba Mufti not to instigate the people of Kashmir. We will not allow anyone to disturb peace, normalcy and brotherhood. In case anything wrong happens, she will have to face the consequences,” the Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief added.
On Friday, Mufti had launched a scathing attack on centre as she said her party would not “abandon the constitutional battle” to reclaim special status withdrawn by the centre in a contentious decision taken in August last year. “A robber may be mighty but he has to return the stolen goods. They demolished the constitution… Parliament had no power to take away special status,” she told reporters, criticising the central government.
“Those who feel we will abandon Kashmir are mistaken,” she said, adding that she would not contest any election until Article 370 is restored. “I have contested elections under our own constitution. How can I contest elections when that constitution has been abolished?” she said.
The PDP chief’s remarks were also criticised by the INC. “Such statements are intolerable and unacceptable in any society,” the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee’s chief spokesman Ravinder Sharma said.
Reacting to her statement, Sharma said it was highly provocative and irresponsible and has hurt sentiments of people.
Political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, were detained for months as part of measures taken by the centre to prevent a backlash against announcing its decision to withdraw special status and bifurcate the former state into two union territories on 5 August 2019.
Mehbooba was released last week while the Abdullahs were released in March.