A group of unidentified men forcibly hoisted the Indian tricolour at the Jammu office of the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday, reported Greater Kashmir. The incident took place a day after party chief Mehbooba Mufti said she will not unfurl the national flag until she brings back the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The party’s former MLA, Firdous Tak, and another leader got into an argument with the men, following which the police dispersed the people, according to Greater Kashmir. The tricolour was also removed by the police, reported The Print. Tak tweeted saying that “few right wingers” attacked him and another leader Parvez Waffa who were present at the office.
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.
Mufti’s comment and reactions
At a press conference on Friday, Mufti had refused to hoist the tricolour until the erstwhile state flag is recognised.
“My flag is this,” Mufti had said, pointing to the Jammu and Kashmir flag. “When this flag comes back, we’ll raise that flag [Indian tricolour] too. Until we get our own flag back, we won’t raise any other flag...This flag forged our relationship with that flag.”
Subsequently, the Bharatiya Janata Party accused the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister of making “seditious remarks”.
“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,” Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Ravinder Raina told PTI. He also warned Mufti against “instigating” the people of Kashmir.
The state unit of the BJP also filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India, seeking that Mufti’s party be derecognised, according to The Indian Express.
Responding to BJP, Mufti tweeted that it was in fact the saffron party which had insulted the national flag.
The Congress, too, chose not to toe Mufti’s line on the matter. Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir told The Indian Express that Mufti’s statement does not match with the party’s political line. “People from all parts of J&K are upset about the unconstitutional manner in which changes were brought to the character of the former state, but in politics, you have to say that politically,” he added.