Days after creating controversy with her remark that she will not hold the national flag, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asserted that she will hold the tricolour and the flag of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir together, saying as an MLA she had reaffirmed her faith in the J-K Constitution and the sovereignty and integrity of India as both are inseparable.
“I have taken an oath of the J-K Constitution when I became the MLA for the first time and I affirm my faith to the Constitution of J-K and uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India – both of which are interlinked. J-K flag and Indian flag, I will hold both these flags together,” the former J&K chief minister told reporters at the end of her five-day visit to Jammu – her first after release from over one-year-long detention under the Pubic Safety Act (PSA).
Mufti had last month said that she was not interested in contesting elections or holding the national flag till the constitutional changes enforced on August 5 last year were rolled back, sparking protests in Jammu.
The party had suffered a setback in Jammu after Mufti’s remark with three senior leaders submitting their resignations, saying that PDP chief’s comments have “hurt patriotic sentiments”.
“We are the people, especially in the Kashmir Valley, who upheld the tricolour high over the years at the cost of thousands of our workers who were martyred,” she said.
She accused the BJP of “breaking the relations” of Jammu and Kashmir with the country by its last year’s decision of abrogating the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcating it into union territories.
“I am saying give us our flag and the Constitution back�the merchandise you have looted in the daylight after conspiring under the darkness of the night have to be returned with interest,” the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president said.
She also asserted that the dialogue with Pakistan and the stakeholders within J&K and opening of cross-border roads to bring the divided parts together can bring peace and everlasting solution to the problem.
Mehbooba Mufti made the assertion while advising the BJP to take a leaf out of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee’s book.
The former chief minister warned that militancy is on the rise in the Valley with more youths preferring “militancy over going to jail” after “no middle path was left and voices of dissent silenced through the muzzle of power”.
“Attempts are being made to vitiate the atmosphere by politics of hatred and division. The people like us are facing problems to live in Kashmir due to an increase in militancy under their (BJP) rule. They were saying militancy has finished but the reality is that at least 10 to 15 youth are joining militancy from each village”, Mehbooba told reporters here at the end of her five-day visit to Jammu.
(With inputs from PTI)
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