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“Hurt patriotic sentiments”; 3 senior party members quit the party over Mehbooba Mufti’s comment on Indian flag

Srinagar: Three leaders quit Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir saying her remarks on the national flag had “hurt patriotic sentiments”. PDP leaders TS Bajwa, Ved Mahajan, and Hussain A Waffa sent a single resignation letter to party chief Mehbooba Mufti, who was released earlier this month after 14 months in detention under the Public Safety Act. The leaders wrote they were “feeling quite uncomfortable” over some of her actions and statements.

“We are feeling quite uncomfortable over some of your actions and undesirable utterances, especially which hurt patriotic sentiments…Instead of overcoming the challenges from within and outside by a process of broader consultations and trust, some elements within the party pulling the party and the leadership in a particular direction, thus deviating from the basic principles, agenda, and philosophy, making it difficult to face the saner voices in the society,” the letter said.

The three leaders said some of the actions and utterances were “unpardonable” and would not be forgotten by people at a time when the party wanted to move in the direction of its fundamental approach and identity and “regain its image” as a political alternative for the people. “In view of this, we feel uncomfortable and suffocated in the party, forcing us to take the difficult decisions of leaving the party,” they wrote. On Friday, the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, speaking to the media for the first time since her release, said she would not fly the Indian flag until the August 5 changes were rolled back. Calling the central government “robbers”, she demanded that Jammu and Kashmir’s separate flag be restored.

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