Srinagar: Three Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders on Monday from the Jammu region resigned from the party following "provocative" and "seditious" remarks by its President Mehbooba Mufti regarding the Indian tricolour.
Senior leaders T S Bajwa, Hassan Ali Waffa and Ved Mahajan have resigned from the PDP. The trio was unhappy with Mehbooba's statement about not holding the tricolour till Jammu and Kashmir's special status, including its separate state flag, is restored.
Speaking to ANI, Mahajan said, "Our national flag is our pride. We have been hurt by her statement. Today, we have shown the people of Jammu and Kashmir that we are secular. There are many party leaders and workers who may resign."
Earlier, Mehbooba Mufti had addressed her first press conference after being released from 14 months of detention. In the presser, she launched a scathing attack on the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) for abrogating Article 370 and said her party will continue the fight to "bring back the state flag" and "won't abandon Kashmir's battle" for special status. She added that she will raise the Indian tricolour only when the "flag of Jammu and Kashmir" is brought back.
Mufti said, “The people of J&K are expendable to them (Centre), what they want is territory. This country will run on the Constitution, not on the BJP’s manifesto."
"My flag is this (points to the flag of J&K kept on the table in front of her). When this flag comes back, we will raise that flag (tricolour) too. Until we get our own flag back, we won't raise any other flag...This flag forged our relationship with that flag," she added "Our relationship with the flag of this country is not independent of this flag (Jammu and Kashmir's flag). When this flag comes in our hand, we will raise that flag too," she further said.
Her remarks drew sharp criticism from Congress and BJP. Condemning Mehbooba Mufti over her flag remark, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said the tricolour is the identity and honour of our country.
"I condemn the remark of Mehbooba Mufti. Disrespect for the tricolour is unacceptable. The tricolour is our honour and the identity of India," Javadekar tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said Mufti's remarks were highly provocative and irresponsible, and she has hurt the patriotic sentiments of people. "She should desist from making such outrageous utterances to hurt the sentiments of every Indian," the Congress leader said. "Such statements are intolerable and unacceptable in any society," he added.