The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday accused former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti of making “seditious” remarks at her first press conference since being released from detention earlier this month, PTI reported. The party said that she should be “put behind bars”.
Mufti had said at the press conference on Friday that her party would bring back the state flag and not abandon the battle for special status for Jammu and Kashmir. “My flag is this,” Mufti remarked, pointing to the Jammu and Kashmir flag. “When this flag comes back, we’ll raise that flag [Indian tricolour] too.”
She had added: “Until we get our own flag back, we won’t raise any other flag...This flag forged our relationship with that flag.”
Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Ravinder Raina warned Mufti against “instigating” the people of Kashmir. “We will not allow anyone to disturb peace, normalcy and brotherhood,” he said. “In case anything wrong happens, she will have to face the consequences.”
Raina added: “I request Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take cognisance of seditious remarks of Mehbooba Mufti, book her for the seditious act and put her behind bars.”
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Raina said that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, so only the national flag could be hoisted there. He told Kashmiri leaders to go to Pakistan and China, if they felt insecure in India.
Jammu and Kashmir had a state flag before the Centre on August 5, 2019, abrogated the special status granted to the erstwhile state under Article 370. After its revocation, the flag, which used to fly alongside the Indian tricolour on the state civil secretariat, was removed.
The Peoples Democratic Party president hit back at the BJP on Saturday. In a tweet, she said it was the BJP that had insulted the tricolour by sowing hatred. “Indian flag stands for diversity and peaceful coexistence amongst all,” Mufti tweeted. “If anyone has insulted the tiranga it, is BJP that persecutes minorities, sows division and hatred. The Flag of India was disrespected the day BJP leaders carried it to justify rapists of a 9-year-old. Spare me the lessons.”
Mufti was on October 13 released from detention under the Public Safety Act. She had been in detention since August 5, 2019, the day the Centre abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bifurcated it into two Union Territories, and imposed a lockdown.
Two days later, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah announced an alliance with Mufti, People’s Conference and other regional groups following a meeting of six Jammu and Kashmir-based parties to discuss the Gupkar Declaration at his residence in Srinagar. He had added that the alliance will strive for the restoration of the “Constitution (with regard to Jammu and Kashmir) as it existed on August 5, 2019.”
Under the Gupkar Declaration, regional parties and the Congress resolved to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and fight against any move to dilute it. On August 22, the six parties reaffirmed their commitment to the declaration and vowed to fight unitedly against the Centre’s decision to alter the region’s status.
Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah – were detained last year. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24, while Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13. People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was released in July.