PDP, BJP On Collision Course Over Flag Issue

30 December 2015
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: The ruling coalition partners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP, on Wednesday once again seemed set on a collision course over Jammu and Kashmir's separate constitutional status, with the upcoming Assembly session scheduled for next month. Just four days after the High Court directed giving equal importance to the State flag on official buildings, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh hinted at opposing it. 'No flag can be hoisted to the same level as the National Flag and the matter will be dealt with legally. It is a decision of the High Court. It is a legal matter,' said Mr. Singh in Jammu. RSS campaign Several BJP and RSS leaders in the past have launched campaigns for 'Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan' (One Constitution, one symbol) in J&K like in other parts of the country. However, coalition partner PDP has pledged to 'safeguard the constitutional position of J&K and work towards more empowerment of the State.' The PDP demands self-rule for the State, which seeks more autonomy and unification of J&K and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). 'Even before the court direction, the State enjoyed two flags, which is mandatory for government buildings and vehicles. Our stand is to protect the special status and, in fact, become a more empowered State,' PDP's senior leader Rafi Mir told The Hindu.