Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has created a political storm over her recent comments. Addressing reporters for the first time since her release from a 14-month detention following the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, Mufti said she will only hold the national flag after the flag of Jammu and Kashmir is restored.
During her presser, Mufti accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “looting” the dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
In an act seen as defiance, the flag of the erstwhile state was prominently placed on a table in front of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, along with that of her party, during a press conference.
“This is my flag,” Mehbooba said, pointing to the flag of the erstwhile state when a reporter asked her about her statement that if Article 370 was revoked, there will be no one left to hold India’s flag.
“When this flag of ours is restored, we will hold that flag (Tricolour) also. But we will not hold any other flag till the time our flag, which was robbed from us, comes into our hold,” she said.
“We had acceded to a liberal, democratic, secular India. Let me tell them that 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.
Mehbooba’s statement did not go down well the BJP. “I request Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take cognisance of the 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. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of our country, so only one flag can be hoisted in Jammu and Kashmir and that is the national flag,” he said.
Raina said the saffron party will not tolerate such “nefarious designs” aimed at instigating the people of Kashmir.
“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,” he said.
If Kashmiri leaders are feeling insecure in India, they can go to Pakistan and China, he added.
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee also condemned Mufti’s statement on the Tricolour, 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.
Reacting to her statement, Sharma said it was highly provocative and irresponsible and has hurt sentiments of people. He 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. “She should desist from such outrageous utterances,” the JKPCC spokesperson said.