The Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday detained several Bharatiya Janata Party workers who were allegedly trying to hoist the national flag at the clock tower in Lal Chowk, Srinagar. At the same time, another video showed BJP workers hoisting the national flag at Peoples Democratic Party office in Jammu. Videos show several individuals who were chanting and carrying flags being subdued by uniformed officials.
The visuals have sparked massive condemnation, with many wondering why this was an issue in the first place. But to understand the motivation behind the sudden flag hoisting ceremony, one had to go back a few days to look at comments made by PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. It must also be noted that today is the Jammu and Kashmir Ascension Day.
Days earlier, Mufti had criticised the abrogation of Article 370, stating that she would hoist the national flag only when the separate flag of the erstwhile state is restored.
"Indian flag stands for diversity and peaceful coexistence amongst all. If anyone has insulted the tiranga it is BJP that persecutes minorities and sows division and hatred. The Indian flag was disrespected the day BJP leaders carried it to justify rapists of a 9 year old. Spare me the lessons," she tweeted on October 24, reacting to a news article. BJP leaders had called for her arrest over her comments.
Since then, there has been a lot of debate over the issue, as well as protests and alleged violence. Party leader Firdous Tak recently claimed that the PDP office in Jammu was attacked by a mob on Saturday. He had said that a mob entered the headquarters and manhandled the PDP leaders while they tried to fix tricolour and used very abusive language.
Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta on Sunday attacked the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), saying his party will oppose all "seditious acts" proposed to promote separatism in Kashmir under the guise of political discourse.
Reportedly, political activists in Jammu have also burned the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state flag and unfurled the Indian tricolour.
The sequence of events has also drawn criticism from BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar who took to Twitter condemning Mufti's comments and stating that "the insult of the tricolor is absolutely unacceptable".