SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s maiden appearance at Bakshi Stadium to preside over the official Indian Independence Day function turned out to be a nightmare for her. The tricolour she wanted to unfurl fell down ominously as Mufti customarily pulled the string. The fiasco left the chief minister flabbergasted and everyone in the official gallery red-faced. The tricolour fell on the floor but in a reflexive action, two commandos with the CM picked it up and began displaying it until Mehbooba finished with the customary salutation.
Mehbooba exerted more force than required to unfurl the flag, perhaps due to her nervousness. When the flag did not open, she pulled the rope more forcefully. The rope untangled and the flag detached from the pole.
“The Indian flag resisted unfurling in Kashmir,” quipped a journalist standing in front of the podium. Police chief K Rajindra, who was customarily standing behind the CM, could not hide his embarrassment. He began sweating. Mehbooba regained her nerve when she held a corner of the flag for a few seconds.
She later asked the police chief to inquire as to what went wrong. Sources said the police chief ordered an inquiry and some officials, assigned to furl the flag, were suspended.
Red-faced Mehbooba later took a round in an open jeep to inspect the contingents of the parade. During this time, the flag was hurriedly tied with the rope and set at the flagstaff. However, it did not flutter for the rest of the ceremony.
“An inquiry was ordered immediately into the incident so as to fix the responsibility,” Kumar told PTI. The DGP said it was a lapse on part of “someone and that person needs to answer. How can the flag come down like that!”
A full dress rehearsal had been conducted on Saturday when the Divisional Commissioner inspected the parade and unfurled the flag.