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Thursday June 30, 2022

Removal of flag from Srinagar costs India its prestige

January 29, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The hoisting of Indian flag on its 73rd republic day in historic Lal Chowk of Indian occupied Kashmir’s Srinagar capital city centre has become mystery and controversy since Indian occupying forces couldn’t protect the flag after its hoisting as people removed it forthwith. The hoisting of the flag is an issue of prestige for the occupying forces but such attempts are always foiled on the national days.

The flag was unfurled at the Clock Tower. On social media, extremist Hindu groups celebrated it by claiming this was the first time that the tri-colour had been hoisted in the location. While several in Kashmir itself have questioned this claim, the flag itself was taken down in a few hours’ time. The Flag Code of India 2002 and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971, have it that, “Where the Flag is displayed in open, it should, as far as possible, be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of weather conditions”. Thus the code of conduct renders what occurred in Srinagar an insult to the Indian flag.

The decision to keep the tricolour up in Srinagar only until midday also raises the same questions on democracy. Former puppet chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah was among the first who brought to light the removal of the national flag at midday. He also accused the administration of using the temporary hoisting of the flag as a photo opportunity. The valley experienced a muted celebration of Republic Day under massive security cover. Notably, this is two and half a years after the unilateral reading down of Article 370 by the Modi government. Senior PDP leader and former minister, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura is also angry at the BJP’s habit of politicising national days, “Unemployment is here, conflict is still here, we are still miles away from development, but they leave no chance aside when it comes to swaying the narrative,” he said. Hanjura said that Indian tri-colour is unfurled in J&K since 1947, nothing new happened this year, but to market it as a new thing is the BJP’s style. They behave as if they have only recently conquered Lal Chowk. This is nothing more than a gimmick ahead of the election in five states.

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