Flag of Jammu and Kashmir
The flag of Jammu and Kashmir is the official flag of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. It consists of a deep red field, representing labour, charged with a plough to represent agriculture. Three stripes are found on the hoist side and represent the three geographic regions of the state: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh.
The region of Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed state. Jammu and Kashmir is 'permitted' to fly its own 'state' flag along with the national flag. Jammu and Kashmir also has a separate constitution which works under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. This is due to the state's special status under the Indian Constitution.
The flag has its origin in events that took place on 13 July 1931 in Srinagar. During a demonstration against the Dogra rulers, the police opened fire and 21 people were killed. The blood-tainted shirt of one of the victims was then hoisted by the crowd as the new flag of Kashmir. 13 July is known as Martyrs' Day and is an official holiday in Jammu and Kashmir.
On 11 July 1939, the flag was adopted by the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, a political party. Then on 7 June 1952, a resolution was passed by the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, making it the official flag of the State. Meanwhile, according to the Delhi Agreement between Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, the flag of India has the same status in Jammu and Kashmir as in the rest of India.
Article 144 states that flag of the state shall be rectangular 3:2 format. Its color is red, which originally represented the blood of the martyrs of the 13 July 1931 demonstration, but later came to symbolise workers and labourers. In the middle, a white plough further symbolises the peasants. Next to the staff, three vertical white stripes represent the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh.
The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir makes it mandatory to hoist the state flag alongside the Union flag of India at all times. However, in 2015, the newly elected Bharatiya Janata Party members in the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly refused to hoist the state flag in their offices. BJP Ministers did not hoist the State flag either, as they consider that it has no importance.
The government led by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed then issued a circular making it compulsory to hoist the state flag along with the national flag, stating that "The state flag has the same sanctity and position as the Union flag has under the Indian Constitution and other statutory provisions." However, within 20 hours, the state government withdrew this circular. On withdrawal of the circular, the Jammu & Kashmir BJP spokesperson said, "“Our leaders cannot have any other flag on their vehicles besides the Tricolour. We welcome the withdrawal of the circular."
In December 2015, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered the government of the state to hoist the state flag along with national flag on official buildings and vehicles of constitutional authorities. However, this decision was contested by the Bharatiya Janata Party and in January 2016 Jammu and Kashmir High Court stayed their decision of hoisting state flag. Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Kumar Singh said that no flag could be hoisted at an equal level of the national flag of India. Other parties alleged that the BJP is trying to impose its nationalist agenda on a state with special status. Despite the stance of the BJP, ministers of its coalition partner PDP continue to use the state flag alongside the national flag in official meetings. Youth wing of National Conference also launched a campaign encouraging people to use the state flag as the profile image on their social media accounts saying that "the State flag of J&K doesn't undermine or take away the protocol or status of the National Flag and is clearly provided for in our constitution."
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