The flag of Jammu and Kashmir was removed from the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar on Sunday following the orders of the Centre, three weeks after the government ended special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Till now, both the Indian flag and the state flag used to fly atop the Civil Secretariat building, the seat of the government. But this morning, only the Indian flag was hoisted, officials said.
It was expected that the flag would be removed on October 31, when the law bifurcating Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh — comes into effect.
Under the special status granted by the Article 370 in the Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir was allowed a separate flag – three white stripes on a red base and a white plough – which was adopted by the state’s constituent assembly in 1952. The three stripes represented the state’s three regions — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Sources said the Centre has instructed the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) to phase out the state flag of Jammu and Kashmir from all the government buildings and replace them with the national flag.
On August 7, two days after the government ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP’s Nirmal Singh — who was also the state’s former Deputy Chief Minister — removed the state flag from his vehicle.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under strict restrictions since the government announced its decision on Article 370 on August 5.
To avoid any backlash, phone and internet connectivity were snapped, more than 50,000 additional troops were stationed and prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were issued.
The government said these measures would be lifted in phases on the basis of the ground situation.
“We will roll back these measures soon,” Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Sunday. The situation, he added, was moving towards normal.
“There is no shortage of essential commodities and medicines in Kashmir. In fact, we delivered meat, vegetables, and eggs to people’s houses on Eid… your opinion will change in 10-15 days,” Mr Malik was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.