The Deoband administration is making announcements in Muslim colonies advising residents to take down the national flag hoisted on rooftops.
“They want to see stones in the hands of the Muslim youth. When we hoist the national flag, they feel scared,” said a local resident, requesting anonymity.
Many residents in the communally sensitive town, which is seeing a sit-in protest against the Anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the last 17 days, haven’t removed the Tricolour after Republic Day.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rakesh Kumar admitted that he has asked the municipal corporation to make such announcements. “We don’t want people to remove the national flag but they should follow the flag code, which expects people to respect the flag and hoist it only from sunrise to sunset,” he said.
When reminded that the Supreme Court had said citizens have a fundamental right to fly the national flag on their premises throughout the year provided they don’t undermine the dignity of the Tricolour, Mr. Kumar said it was not a “big” issue and that he had received “oral” complaints from some people that the Tricolour was not being respected.
‘No notices issued’
He further said no notices had been issued and that the announcement was not community specific.
However, locals allege no such announcement is made during the annual Kawad Yatra where the national flag is very casually used by some pilgrims.
This comes even after Union Minister Giriraj Singh described Deoband as a hub of terrorism during a recent visit to Saharanpur.
“I have asked the SDM to give us in writing or file an FIR against us for flying the national flag,” said Mavia Ali, former MLA and Samajwadi Party leader. “We are being told not to raise the national flag at the protest site in Idgah ground. The anti-CAA movement is a nationalist movement and the Tricolour is used in any such movement,” said Mr. Ali. “Deoband played an important role in the freedom movement and we aspire to be wrapped in the national flag on our last journey.”