India Should 'Respect' Neighbour's Flag: NC Leader on Pak Flag Raising

India Should 'Respect' Neighbour's Flag: NC Leader on Pak Flag Raising

Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal today kicked up a controversy by suggesting that there was nothing wrong in Pakistani flags being raised in Kashmir but his party chief and nephew Omar Abdullah said the party "does not subscribe to these views".

Kamal, former minister in Jammu and Kashmir and brother of National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, questioned why the central government gets "perturbed" over raising of Pakistani flags in the Valley and said India should "respect" the neighbour's flag.

"What difference would raising Pakistani flags make? Now the government of India is getting restless, getting more perturbed. It is being done deliberately," the additional general secretary of the opposition party told reporters here.

"This is a flag of an independent nation of Pakistan. India has to respect it. India and Pakistan both are signatory to the United Nations's charter and they have to respect each others' flags. Pakistani flag is not just a piece of cloth, the flag of Jammu and Kashmir is not a piece of paper, the flag of India is not a piece of paper, they all have their respects," he said.

His comments come amid a row over repeated incidents of Pakistani flags being hoisted at rallies of separatists in Kashmir. This has caused unease in the central government, particularly since BJP is a partner in PDP-led Jammu and Kashmir government.

Omar Abdullah, the former Chief Minister of the state, said such remarks cause embarrassment and should not have been made especially by a person who has been a former legislator and a minister.

"These views of Mustafa Kamal are his views and his views alone. The party does not subscribe to these views," the NC President told NDTV.

Noting that there has been a greater frequency of the hoisting of Pakistani flags over the last few months, Abdullah said, "I think, it is in part a reaction to the coming together of BJP and PDP. It is an alliance which people in Jammu and Kashmir are finding very difficult to swallow."

The state's Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh was dismissive about Kamal, saying "people like these" keep making such comments for media attention. 

"The central government also cannot escape the blame.

These tactics are being employed to fuel fire in the hearts of non-muslims in India against the Muslims, especially against the people of Jammu and Kashmir," Kamal said.

The NC leader said it was "not enough" to point out who is hoisting the Pakistani flags as there are "agencies" working in the state since the eruption of militancy to "defame" the people of the state.

"There are agencies working here (in the state) since the eruption of militancy so as to defame the residents and to level allegations against each other so that they get an opportunity to flex their muscles on the people," he said.

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