PDP leader hits back saying if anyone has insulted the Tiranga it is BJP that persecutes minorities, sows division and hatred
NEW DELHI – Mehbooba Mufti’s recent statement declaring that she won’t unfurl national flag has raised a political storm. On Saturday, the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded her arrest while Congress Party said her remarks were unacceptable.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President said she won’t raise any other flag till the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir is restored. She made the statement on Friday at a press conference held at her residence on the Gupkar road in Srinagar where she appeared before mediapersons with the flag of the erstwhile state and her party’s flag placed in front of her.
It was her first interaction with media after being released from 14-month long detention. Mufti said her fight was not confined merely to the restoration of Article 370, but for the resolution of Kashmir issue as well.
“Our relationship with our national flag is not independent of the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. When we get that flag, we will raise the Indian flag as well,” she said.
“Till the time we get back the flag that was robbed from us, we will not raise any other flag,” she added.
On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP described her statement “seditious”. “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 reporters.
“We will sacrifice every drop of our blood for our flag, country and motherland. J-K is an integral part of our country, so only one flag can be hoisted in J-K and that is the national flag,” he said.
“I warn leaders like Mehbooba Mufti not to instigate the people of Kashmir. We will not allow anyone to disturb peace, normalcy and brotherhood. In case anything wrong happens, she will have to face the consequences,” Raina said.
If Kashmiri leaders are feeling insecure in India, they can go to Pakistan and China, he added.
In her press conference, Mehbooba had accused the BJP of “looting” the dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We had acceded to a liberal, democratic, secular India. Let me tell them we are not comfortable, we are incompatible with today’s India where minorities and Dalits are not safe and where they tried to disrespect us by looting our dignity,” she said.
J&K Pradesh Congress Committee also condemned Mufti’s statement saying it is unacceptable and has hurt sentiments of people. ”Such statements are intolerable and unacceptable in any society,” JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
Sharma said the National flag is the symbol of honour for the country and reminds of the sacrifices of crores of Indians to achieve freedom and to protect the dignity, honour and the territorial integrity of the country. He said such statements will defeat the democratic and constitutional struggle for achieving any just right.
Mufti in her statement had said that leaders at the Centre are “not interested in the people of J&K, who are expendbles for them. What they want is territory, which was already with the people by legal means till August 5 last year. But they broke their relationship which was the basis for accession.”
Mufti said she has nothing to do with the elections but party leaders will decide on the issue and the People’s Alliance for Gupkar deceleration signatories will take a call on the matter.
“We had boycotted the panchayat elections. We will speak to our workers, and the alliance will take a call on the issue of elections. As far as I am concerned, I will not contest any election without the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and the constitution,” she said.
Mufti also accused the BJP of dividing people on caste and religious lines.
Responding to BJP’s attack, Mufti, later on Saturday, hit back saying that it was the BJP that has insulted Tiranga by sowing hatred. “Flag of India stands for diversity and peaceful coexistence amongst all. 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 said through a Tweet.