Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 5.08 PM IST

Won’t hoist tricolour until J&K flag is allowed: Mehbooba Mufti


SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said members of her party would not raise the Indian tricolour unless they are allowed to raise the flag of Jammu & Kashmir, the right to which had been conferred on the erstwhile state by the now-defunct Article 370 of the Constitution.

In her first interaction with the media after her release from 14 months in detention, Mufti said she had no interest in fighting elections unless the special status of Jammu & Kashmir is restored.

Flanked by three senior party leaders, the PDP president placed the party flag and the flag of the former state on a table in front of her.

Mufti said the relationship of J&K with the national tricolour was not independent of the erstwhile state flag. Pointing towards the flag in front of her, she said: “When this flag comes in our hand, we will also raise that (Indian) flag as well.”

Mufti said J&K’s flag had been taken away by “dacoits.”

“They themselves desecrated the Constitution...What do they expect from us? Our flag is this {pointing towards the erstwhile J&K flag} and our relations with the country’s flag have been established by this flag,” she said.

“Let me tell you, I have no interest in elections unless what has been taken from us is returned. Unless the Constitution under which we used to contest elections is returned, I won’t take part in elections,” Mufti said.

She added that the central government had desecrated the Constitution of India to push the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) manifesto promise of doing away with Article 370.

“It was the Indian Constitution that had safeguarded our special status and gave the powers to the constituent assembly of J&K whether to keep the special status or do away with it. It was J&K’s constituent assembly which had decided to keep this special provision,” she said.

“After revocation of Article 370, they brought many laws into J&K only to provoke people. The people of J&K are expendable for them.”

Addressing the national leadership, she said: “I want to tell people in Delhi you can’t forget Kashmir problem. It’s there and you can’t close your eyes.”

Reacting sharply to Mehbooba’s statement over “not raising tricolour”, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that “the so-called politicians of Kashmir sometimes tend to be more dangerous than apparently identified separatists.”

“Mehbooba Mufti claims to be a mainstream politician but she has reservations in carrying the tricolour. We have maintained for last several years that Kashmir’s so-called politicians sometimes tend to be more dangerous than apparently identified separatists,” the Union Minister told news agency ANI.

Mufti went on to say that her role will not be restricted to the restoration of Article 370, it will go beyond it.

“About the final resolution of the Kashmir dispute, we will perform whatever is our role,” she said, adding that young Kashmiris had paid with their lives for the cause of the erstwhile state.

“It’s time for political leaders to give their blood. The fight is not just mine or any particular party’s or of the alliance [of local political parties] alone. We request people to unite with us” .

Mufti called it a political fight that will be fought peacefully.

“They say you can buy land in J&K; we’ve abrogated Article 370. Then they said they will give free vaccines. Today, PM Modi had to speak of Article 370 for votes. This government has failed to solve the issues of this nation,” she said.

Hours after Peoples' Democratic Party chief Mehooba Mufti spoke at her first press conference since being released from 14 months of detention, the BJP on Friday accused her of making "seditious remarks". "We will raise the national flag only once our state flag is back. The national flag is here only because of this (the Jammu and Kashmir) flag and constitution. We are linked to the rest of the country because of this flag," Ms Mufti, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, said on Friday, prompting criticism from the BJP and the Congress.

Hitting out at the PDP president over the comments, J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina told reporters: "I request Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take note of (the) seditious remarks of Mehbooba Mufti, book her for the seditious act and put her behind bars".

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