It is amazing that both the UPA government at the centre and the state government of J&K are opposing the flag hoisting at Lal Chowk. One wonders at the wisdom of the Manmohan Singh government. The PM himself made a clumsy statement that flag hoisting on Republic Day should not be used to score political points. So since when is flag hoisting an act of scoring political points?
If the PM made that statement Omar Abdullah came up with a beauty! He states: ''Unlikely that I'll be able to leave Lal Chowk open and give them the space to raise the flag with the pomp it deserves, which I think is an insult to the flag. If the BJP really wants to raise the flag with the pomp and ceremony it deserves it should join the official ceremony. Instead of trying to overshadow the function, they should be a part of the function and give respect to the flag hoisting that it deserves".
The separatists along with other anti-national speakers like Arundhati Roy, Maoists and others go around Delhi, Chandigarh and other places to spew their anti-national venom using the freedom this nation allows. And yet the UPA and the J&K governments find flag hoisting a disruption of peace and an insult to the flag itself. Someone should be telling Omar Abdullah that a flag hoisted in celebration anywhere in the country, even on the leanest of poles or sticks is an honourable act. Adbullah describes Lal Chowk as just a bazaar and not the proper place for a flag. When will the media call such lies?
Time and again the separatists have been burning the Indian flag with impunity and hoisting Pakistani flags. Instead of combating such people the Indian government is at war with the BJP on the issue. A train from Karnataka with BJP workers was turned back from Maharashtra during night time on January 24 while the passengers were sleeping. Such cowardice is not known anywhere else in the world where patriots express solidarity to symbolic acts of flag hoisting on their own territories. If anything, the UPA and the J&K governments should be offering all protection to the Ekta Yatra and let them hoist the flag.
In a democracy freedom of speech and assembly and the right to hoist the national flag should neither be denied nor should be opposed on any grounds whatsoever. After all, the ones who feel offended by this are only the enemies of the nation. Contrast this with a US Supreme Court order in 1978 which allowed Nazi groups to march through Skokie in Chicago. Skokie is a predominantly Jewish locality and the Jews had objected to such a march. And the Jews were not even separatists or enemies of the state. Yet the supreme court allowed the march to protect the group’s right to freedom of expression and assembly. The state cannot cite threats of violence by separatists to disallow free assembly and flag hoisting. It is the state’s job to ensure protection to the event and not prevent it.
Maverick politician Subramanian Swamy puts the issue in its right perspective. He mentions that “Lal Chowk is a historic place and not some "bazaar area" "as the present chief minister blandly and ignorantly states". And further adds "The UPA government is duty bound under the Transaction of Business Rules framed under the Constitution to officially unfurl the tricolour national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, J&K"
Many media pundits are also lecturing the BJP on giving up the Ekta Yatra. These so called liberals will write endlessly about a Pakistani governor being assassinated and the intolerance that pervades the state of Pakistan. Would they like the intolerance of separatists dictating the course of this country as well? Instead of strongly backing the yatra the media too is guilty of supporting the separatists indirectly. They keep asking if the BJP if it will accept responsibility if there is violence or deaths. Why should there be any violence or deaths? The media should be holding the government responsible for the safety of those in the yatra and not the other way around.
No matter what happens, if there is blood, then Omar Abdullah would have to bear the responsibility. Not those who wish to hoist the flag.