To mark 75 years of Independence, the Union government has recently launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign wherein citizens across the country have been urged to unfurl the national flag atop their homes from August 13 to 15. People have been asked to share their pictures with tricolour on social media.
According to the Union home ministry, which is the nodal agency for the campaign, the initiative is aimed at invoking “patriotism in the hearts of the people and to promote awareness about the Indian national flag”.
However, the issue has become controversial in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Reports emerged from Anantnag and Udhampur over orders from officials directing shopkeepers and students to pay Rs 20 as a “deposit fee” for the tricolour to be unfurled. Chief education officer (CEO) Anantnag had to withdraw a controversial circular for schools in the district, asking students and teachers to pay the Rs 20 fee after the order went viral on social media.
Similarly, in a purported video, officials of municipal committee Bijbehara town in Anantnag were making announcements and threatening shopkeepers that “in case they failed to deposit the amount their licenses may get cancelled”.
Opposition parties in the UT hit out at the local administration. The former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, CPI (M) leader Yusuf Tarigami, among others slammed the campaign, saying “patriotism comes naturally and can’t be imposed”.