The Deoband administration in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district has asked residents in Muslim colonies to remove the national flag hoisted on their rooftops, The Hindu reported on Friday.
The women in the communally sensitive town have been protesting against the amended Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens at the Idgah Maidan since January. Their protest has been inspired by the women-led demonstrations in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh locality. In the run-up to the Delhi elections, the BJP had tried to portray it as a referendum on the demonstrations at Shaheen Bagh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had criticised the protestors, with Modi alleging that the real agenda of the demonstrations was being obscured through the use of the Tricolour and Constitution as symbols.
The residents of Deoband town have not removed the Tricolour after Republic Day. Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rakesh Kumar said he has asked the municipal corporation to make announcements to remove the flag. “We don’t want people to remove the national flag but they should follow the flag code, which expects people to respect the flag and hoist it only from sunrise to sunset,” he added.
However, the Supreme Court has ruled that citizens have a fundamental right to fly the national flag on their premises throughout the year as long as they do not undermine the dignity of the Tricolour. When questioned about this, Kumar claimed he had received “oral” complaints from some people that the flag was not being respected.
He also denied that the announcements were community specific.
Locals in the town pointed that Hindus were not advised to follow such rules during the annual Kanwar Yatra, where the national flag is casually used by the pilgrims.
Former MLA and Samajwadi Party leader Mavia Ali told the newspaper that he has asked the sub-divisional magistrate to give the order in writing or file a complaint against them for flying the national flag. “We are being told not to raise the national flag at the protest site in Idgah ground,” he added. “The anti-CAA movement is a nationalist movement and the Tricolour is used in any such movement. Deoband played an important role in the freedom movement and we aspire to be wrapped in the national flag on our last journey.”
Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh had on Wednesday called Deoband a “hub of terrorism”. The Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband is located in the town. “All most wanted terrorists of the world came from Deoband, including [Lashkar-e-Taiba founder] Hafiz Saeed or any of the others,” he had said. “These people are not against CAA, they are against India. This is a kind of a Khilafat movement.”