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India forces Kashmiris to hoist its flag ahead of Independence Day

An Indian armed forces personnel stands deployed in srinagar.

Indian-controlled Kashmir is to witness the 75th independence day celebrations as preparations go on in the capital Srinagar under the Ministry of Culture’s campaign to instill “a deeper sense of love for the country.”

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha of the Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir would take the chair at the celebration function that will be held at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar.

Last week, during a campaign launched by the Indian government, “Har Ghar Tiranga” (A tricolor flag in every house), Indian media claimed that the people of the valley came out in numbers to celebrate it, adding that even the families of Kashmiri Militants also hoisted the Indian flag.

Last month, government officials had ordered shopkeepers and students to pay 20 Rupees each as a deposit fee for the unfurling of the flag during this campaign. The officials had announced that if shopkeepers failed to deposit the amount, their licenses may get cancelled. The move sparked controversy in the valley.

In response, the former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti said, “the manner in which J&K admin is forcing students, shopkeepers & employees to pay for national flag to hoist it is as if Kashmir is an enemy territory that needs to be captured. Patriotism comes naturally & can’t be imposed.”

Ever since the 1990 uprising in Kashmir, the people in the valley have naturally abstained from any kind of national celebrations and the valley has a long history of burning the Indian flag during its violent protests. But, a Union Minister recently claimed that, “earlier Indian flag was burnt in Valley, today it can be hoisted anywhere."

With the rising Islamophobia and hate against Muslims with each passing day an incident of hate crimes are reported, experts predict that India is rapidly moving from being a secular multicultural nation to a Hindu supremacist state.

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