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Restore Kashmir's flag: Mehbooba

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti addresses a press conference in Srinagar on October 23, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on October 23 said she was not interested in contesting elections or holding the National Flag till the Constitutional changes enforced on August 5, 2019 were rolled back.

In her first media interaction after her release from 14-month detention, the PDP president said she would hold the tricolour only when the separate flag of the erstwhile State would be restored.

“As far as I am concerned, I have no interest in elections. Till the time the Constitution under which I used to contest elections is returned to us, Mehbooba Mufti has got nothing to do with elections, let me tell you that,” she said.

Asked if her party and the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration will contest the District Development Council (DDC) elections, she said a meeting of the alliance will be held on October 24 where these issues will also be discussed apart from the general situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked further whether not contesting these polls will be like conceding space to the BJP, Ms. Mufti said it was a hypothetical question. “You are discussing everything hypothetically. The alliance will sit and discuss it. It is not about the BJP and its cronies. Because people have to survive and God forbid, it should not happen that they (people) will come into the hands of those where they will be kicked out. So, we will take a decision keeping in mind all the pros and cons. Farooq (Abdullah) sahib is our leader, so we will take the right decision after everyone gives his opinion,” she said.

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The flag of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was prominently placed on a table in front of the PDP president along with the party flag during the presser. It was for the first time that the PDP displayed the flag of the erstwhile State at a party function or a presser.

“This is my flag,” Ms. Mufti said, pointing to the flag of the erstwhile State, when a reporter asked her about her statement that if Article 370 was revoked, there will be no one left to hold India’s flag.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.

Ms. Mufti said the tricolour was part of the Constitution and the BJP had desecrated that Constitution and flag. When a rape incident took place in Kathua area of Jammu, the BJP came out with that flag and raised slogans in support of the rapist.

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She said Jammu and Kashmir’s relation with India was because of the erstwhile State’s special Constitutional position which included a separate flag. “When they themselves desecrated that Constitution and that flag, what do they expect from us? Our relation with that flag (tricolour) was because of this flag (erstwhile State’s) and it (the relationship) is not independent of this flag,” she said.

Hitting out at the BJP, Ms. Mufti said the party has “demolished” the country’s Constitution and wants to replace it with its manifesto. She regretted that the Opposition parties in the country, except a few, went silent on the issue thinking this happened in Kashmir and not with them.

“But then, the BJP demolished the same Constitution, the BJP passed the Citizenship Amendment Act and polarised the people. Then made an anti-farmer law and now, I think they will steal the rights of the downtrodden communities like Dalits,” she said. “They want to replace the country’s Constitution with the BJP’s manifesto, but this will not work. So many people like Pharaoh and Hitler came, but this dictatorship will not work.”

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Ms. Mufti said the BJP does not want the people of Jammu and Kashmir and is only after the “territory”.

“The people of Jammu and Kashmir are expendable for them, what they want is the territory. They had this territory rightfully till August 5, 2019, but then they broke a relation by virtue of which we had entered into an accession with them,” she said.

The PDP chief lashed out at the BJP for desecrating the Constitution and “looting” the dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir by revoking its special status. “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. They will have to think, if not today, then tomorrow, that this country will run on India’s Constitution and not on the BJP’s manifesto,” she said.

Ms. Mufti said the BJP-led government had nothing to show and rake up except for Kashmir and Article 370 to seek votes.

“They have demonised Kashmiris, Muslims and even Dalits for that matter in the media and when they fail at anything, they remember Kashmir and Article 370,” she alleged.

Ms. Mufti also saluted IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan who quit the service in 2019 “over denial of freedom to the people of J&K”.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:55:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gupkar-alliance-to-decide-on-contesting-polls-says-mehbooba-mufti/article32932726.ece

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