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Kashmir Parties Uphold Tricolour But Continue to Root for Erstwhile J&K Flag

Anees Zargar |
Mehbooba Mufti’s DP shows her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and PM Modi in 2015 that includes the triclour and the J&K flag.

Srinagar: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to change the display picture of their social media accounts (display pictures or DPs) that was followed by officials, politicians and his supporters, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) president changed her DP featuring the now scrapped flag of Jammu & Kashmir.

The PDP leader, amidst the ongoing ‘flag-row’ in the region, displayed a picture of her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and Prime Minister Modi that was taken during the oath ceremony of Sayeed in 2015 and has both the Indian flag and the erstwhile state’s flag.

“Changed my dp since a flag is a matter of joy & pride. For us our state flag was irreversibly linked to the Indian flag. It was snatched thus breaking away the link. You may have robbed us of our flag but can't erase it from our collective conscience,” the former chief minister wrote on Twitter.

Before the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and subsequent bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories, Mehbooba had warned about the move, terming it detrimental to the region’s security and spirit.

In 2017, Mehbooba had claimed that no one in Kashmir would raise or hold the tricolour if the two Articles 370 and 35 A were tinkered with. Her remarks have since been widely condemned by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and are regularly raked up by its supporters to depict a picture contrary to Mehbooba’s prediction.

During its first rally since the abrogation of Article 370, BJP leaders attacked PDP and Mehbooba in particular claiming that she was wrong to say that if Article 370 is revoked, then no one will hoist the tricolour.

“I want to tell her, that come to Lal Chowk and see the residents of Kashmir holding the tiranga (tricolour). Every person has a tiranga in his heart," BJP’s general secretary Tarun Chugh said.

In what was seen by many as an outcome of the ongoing row, Jammu and Kashmir Reconciliation Front chairman Sandeep Mawa on Wednesday hoisted the Indian flag on the main entrance of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) office in Srinagar’s Rajbagh locality. The flag was, however, removed after sometime by “unknown” persons from the Hurriyat office, which has remained defunct since 2019.

The controversy over hoisting of the tricolour was sparked following a diktat by the authorities. who issued various orders to hoist the national flag in all government buildings and residences under the “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign launched by the Central government to celebrate 75 years of Independence.

In the valley, officials even directed shopkeepers and students to pay Rs 20 as  “deposit fee” for the tricolour to be unfurled as part of the nationwide programme. This was widely condemned, leading to a clarification from the UT administration that it is a “choice” and not mandatory.

Terming the controversy as needless, senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammad Sagar said that hoisting of the tricolor in J&K is “nothing new” and has been a norm since years.

"In the past, I as a home minister and rural development minister had hoisted the flag," he was quoted as saying.

CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami,  on Monday during a party function. reiterated that the restoration of the Constitution and flag of the erstwhile J&K is the cornerstone of state’s polity, something that the BJP-led government cannot alter.

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