Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that she will hold both the tricolour and the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir together, reported PTI. Mufti said she had as an MLA reaffirmed her faith in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the sovereignty and integrity of India as both of them are inseparable.

On October 23, Mufti had said that her party would bring back the state flag and not abandon the battle for special status for Jammu and Kashmir. “Until we get our own flag back, we won’t raise any other flag...This flag forged our relationship with that flag,” she had said.

“We are the people, especially in the Kashmir Valley, who upheld the tricolour high over the years at the cost of thousands of our workers who were martyred,” the PDP chief said on Monday at the end of her five-day visit to Jammu. It was Mufti’s first visit to Jammu after being released from her over one-year-long detention under the Pubic Safety Act.

Without naming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, she criticised the organisation over the matter of raising the tricolour. “Those moving with half pants and where their leader sits do not hoist the tricolour [at their headquarters] and they are giving us lessons on the national flag.”

The PDP chief said Nagaland residents had recently said they do not accept the flag of this country and the Constitution. She asked why these “half pants” did not protest against them.

Speaking about her father and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the PDP chief said he had picked up the country’s flag when they were being dismissed as “insects of filthy drain” and being subjected to social boycott.

“We, including the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] members, have taken an oath [in the Assembly and Council] that we will affirm our faith in the Constitution of J&K and will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India,” she said. “First, it was the J&K Constitution and then the sovereignty and integrity of the country. How is it, they cut one finger and leave the other, it is not right,” she said.

The PDP chief further accused the BJP of “breaking the relations” of Jammu and Kashmir with the country by deciding to abrogate the special status granted to the erstwhile state under Article 370 and bifurcating it into Union territories. “I am saying give us our flag and the Constitution back. The merchandise you have looted in the daylight after conspiring under the darkness of the night have to be returned with interest,” she said.

Mufti also claimed that there has been a rise in militancy in Kashmir due to the BJP government’s policies.
“The government is following an iron fist policy,” Mufti said, according to The Hindu. “Its high-handedness is forcing the youth in Kashmir to prefer guns over going to jail forcibly. In fact, militancy witnessed a rise during the BJP rule.”

On Bihar elections, Mufti congratulated Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, who “has set a narrative with a focus on roti, kapda aur makan [bread, clothes and house]”. She said the BJP would meet the same fate in the Bihar polls as the outgoing United States president Donald Trump, who was ousted by Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

On Centre’s farming legislation and the new land laws in the Union territory, Mufti said that the BJP, which failed to provide two square meals to the people, would not be live up to its promise of creating two crore jobs every year.

The former chief minister accused the BJP of being the most corrupt party in India and said that it would sell all the country’s resources before it goes out of power.

“They are accusing us of corruption. I think they have beaten all previous records of corruption. They were not having any foothold but look at the huge office buildings of the party today. Where has the money come from and how have their accounts swelled in the name of party fund?”

— Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti

She also cirticised some media houses for allegedly propagating the BJP’s agenda. “If the BJP agenda is adopted, the same situation will emerge as is being witnessed over the past six years,” Mufti added.

The flag row

Following her comments on the tricolour and the Jammu and Kashmir flag, the BJP had called Mufti’s remarks “seditious” and said that she should be “put behind bars”.

On October 24, the state unit of the BJP had filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India, seeking that Mufti’s party be derecognised. On the same day, a group of unidentified men forcibly hoisted the Indian tricolour at the Jammu office of the PDP. Party leader Firdous Tak claimed that a “few right wingers” attacked him and another leader Parvez Waffa who were present at the office.

Union Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad had said on October 25 that Mufti’s comments were “downright denunciation” of the sanctity of the country’s flag. He also asserted that Article 370 will not be restored as it was revoked following a proper constitutional process and both Houses of Parliament approved it with overwhelming numbers.

Three Peoples Democratic Party leaders had quit the party saying that Mufti’s statements of the flag “hurt patriotic sentiments”. TS Bajwa, Ved Mahajan and Hussain A Waffa joined the Congress on Monday, according to PTI.