Will hold flag of erstwhile J-K state and tricolour together: Mehbooba Mufti

·5-min read

Jammu, Nov 9 (PTI) After being attacked for her remarks of not holding the tricolour till Jammu and Kashmir's special status was restored, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that she will hold the national flag as well as the flag of erstwhile state together.

Talking to reporters at the end of her five-day visit to Jammu region, her first one after being released from over a year-long detention under the Public Safety Act, Mufti attacked the BJP's policies, asserting that 'the party will meet the same fate as the outgoing US president Donald Trump'.

She also favoured a dialogue with Pakistan and the stakeholders within Jammu and Kashmir, besides opening of cross-border roads to bring the divided parts together, saying this move can bring peace and an everlasting solution to the problem.

Attempting to play down her controversial comments last month, Mehbooba, who heads regional party PDP, said as an MLA she had reaffirmed her faith in the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and the sovereignty and integrity of India 'and both are inseparable'.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister 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.

In a veiled attack on the RSS, Mufti said, 'Those moving with half pants and where their leader sits do not hoist the tricolour (at their headquarters) and they are giving us lessons on the national flag.' 'We are the people, especially in Kashmir Valley, who upheld the tricolour high over the years at the cost of thousands of our workers who were martyred,' she told reporters here.

She said the people in Nagaland had recently said they do not accept the flag of this country and the Constitution and questioned that why these 'half pants' did not take out protest marches against them.

'When I said we will raise both the flags, they came out with protests and burnt my effigies but when the people in Nagaland are saying it, there are no murmurs and discussion on television,' she said.

She said her father late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had picked up the national flag when they were being dismissed as 'insects of a filthy drain' and subjected to social boycott. 'We, including the BJP members, have taken an oath (in the assembly and council) that we will affirm our faith in the Constitution of J-K and will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India.' 'First, it was the J-K Constitution and then the sovereignty and integrity of the country. How is it, they cut one finger and leave the other, it is not right,' she said.

Asked whether she will hold the tricolour, Mehbooba said, 'I had already replied that 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.' She accused the BJP of 'breaking the relations' of Jammu and Kashmir with the country by its last year's decision of abrogating its special status 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,' she said.

Attacking the BJP, she said during the Bihar election the BJP raked up the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A and opening of Jammu and Kashmir for the people across the country but it did not work for them as people are more concerned about their meals.

She complimented RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, who the exit polls predict will form the Bihar government, and said, 'I want to congratulate Tejashwi who is a young man and has set a narrative with a focus on Roti, Kapda Aur Makan (bread, clothes and house).' Accusing the BJP of misleading people and diverting their attention from real issues by playing the politics of 'communal hatred', she said, 'When oppression increases, it soon vanishes too.' 'Today is their (BJP's) time and tomorrow, our time will come. The same thing will happen to them (BJP) what happened to Trump (who lost the US presidential election last week).' Mufti also referred to the Centre's new farm laws and land laws in Jammu and Kashmir and said, 'The BJP failed to provide two square meals to the people, leave aside the creation of promised two crore jobs every year.' Favouring a dialogue with Pakistan and other stakeholders of Jammu and Kashmir, she advised the BJP to take a leaf out of former prime minister A B Vajpayee's governance.

'We have to take a leaf out of that book (his way of handling affairs) and start a dialogue with them (Pakistan) and with the stakeholders in J-K, when we can hold eight rounds of talks with China which martyred our 20 soldiers and we did not even raise our finger,' she asserted.

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'.

The youth is thinking of two options -- whether to go to jail or pick up the gun -- and he chooses later to get killed rather than going to the jail.' PTI TAS AB SKL AAR AAR