In the run-up to Independence Day, the government launched the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign on a very high scale. There were rallies by various security agencies, educational institutions and individuals. One such campaign that LG Manoj Sinha presided over in the Dal Lake led to a commentary by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi: “Wonderful collective effort on the Dal Lake! #HarGharTiranga.” This year, all the government buildings will have tricolour fluttering over them.
The campaign saw massive demand for tricolour across Kashmir. It led the self-help groups (SHG) run by the National Rural Livelihood Mission and the army worked round the clock to manage part of the demand. Indu Kanwal Chib, Mission Director, JKRLM, told reporters that initially 11000 women were asked to sew flags but after gauging the response the numbers went up to 16000. A programme manager at Rajouri said the women earn a profit of Rs 8 on each tricolour. In one Rajouri centre, more than 20 thousand flags were stitched by 200 women. Qamran Haneef, another Project Manager of an SHG said that the women start early in the morning and go home late in the evening because they have too much of work. Matsa Begum, one of the women in the group said they have been given a target and they will have to deliver it before Independence Day.
This year the government announced that the people must unfurl the national flag atop their houses to celebrate the 75 years of independence. This has added to the demand. In most districts, huge gatherings of the students are seen busy rehearsing for the event. “The spirit of the younger generation is so high that they have started preparations for the event with regular rehearsals. Students are proactively participating in various activities and events and are very excited to perform in the upcoming Independence Day functions,” the spokesman said. “Flags have been distributed across all districts. Preparations are in full swing for the mega event of Har Ghar Tiranga from August 13-15 this year.”
Besides, the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) also held an online competition in singing the national anthem from August 1-7. The competition saw around 9,000 entries having around 50,000 participants received from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir which is four times more than the entries received last year, Director DIPR, Akshay Labroo told reporters. “The winners of the competition will get cash awards of Rs 25,000, Rs 11,000 and Rs 5,000 for first, second and third prizes respectively besides getting an opportunity to sing the national anthem at the divisional level during the Independence Day celebrations.”
In Kawari and Kunan villages in north Kashmir, the army-supported centre has engaged almost 50 women to stitch the national flag. The centre has been working in these villages for last many months. The women in these centres are getting orders for the supply of flags on an almost daily basis.
The army has provided these women with stitching machines and raw materials, according to the head of the centre, Nazima Samundar. The centre is stitching more than 100 flags a day. The centre uses handwork for making embroidered Ashoka Chakra on the flag.
In neighbouring Baramulla, two similar centres located at Trikanjan and Bernate are also busy managing the demand for the national flag. Set up with the help of the army, these centres are exclusively managed by the centre and the machines have been supplied by the army.
“I am the trainer here; we’ve been working here for two days, and it is a part of the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign,” Sabreena, the centre’s main trainer has told the ANI. “We have manufactured 250-250 flags and are grateful to the Indian Army for this opportunity.”
Meanwhile, a tricolour on a carpet is being presented to the Prime Minister on this Independence Day by Kashmiri artisan Mohammad Maqbool Dar. A resident of Ashtangoo in Bandipora, Dar is a carpet weaver who has already created history by weaving a mesmerizing Kashmir culture in a silk carpet wall hanging.
“It is my long cherished dream to present the carpet woven with Indian tricolour to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on the forthcoming independence day of the country,” Dar told a news gathering agency recently.
The carpet-tricolour – 24 x 30 inches – being presented to Modi took his team of six girls more than two months to complete. The team is now busy weaving two more carpets with Indian tricolour of the same size but with different eye-catching colours in the background with the slogan Mera Bharat Mahaan on it.
Talking about the Ekta Yatra, Union minister Anurag Thakur told an audience at the Talkatora Stadium that then, “it was a crime to hoist a national flag in Kashmir.” He said the situation has changed. “But, but after the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now one can hoist the national flag in any corner of Jammu & Kashmir and at any time.” He added: “But, now, brothers and sisters of J-K are chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai and hoisting Tiranga.”
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Though the expectation was that around eight lakh pilgrims will visit the cave shrine of Amarnath, the final tally at the conclusion of the 44-days yatra was 365 thousand. LG Manoj Sinha said for almost 20 days weather conditions were bad. Still, he said, it was the highest number in many years – in 2016 it was 220490; in 2017, it was 260003; in 2018, it was 285006; in 2019 it was 343587. He said due to the cloudburst, yatra remained suspended for three days and due to the efforts of security forces, NDRF and SDRF ensured early resumption of the pilgrimage. The yatra saw the use of RIFD chips for the first time even as the housing arrangements were almost doubled.
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In a run-up to Independence Day, the security grid focus was in Kashmir and the fugitives choose a small military 11-Raj Rifle base near LoC at Parghal, 9 km from Darhal (Rajouri). Both the Fidayeen militants, presumed to be banned Jaish-e-Muhammad recruits, were killed after they left six soldiers injured of whom only two survived – Major Hemant and Subedar Rajendra Prasad. The fallen soldiers were identified as Subedar Rajendra Prasad (Maligoven Kashmipura in Rajasthan), Rifleman Lakshmanan (T Pudupatto Tamil Nadu), Manoj Kumar (Shahjahanpur Chandpur Haryana) and Nishant Malik (Adarsh Nagar Hansi Haryana).
After the attack, National Investigation Agency (NIA) teams visited the spot. Initial investigations suggest that the militants in combat dresses had been spotted behind Darhal Bus Stand on Tuesday evening but escaped before the arrival of police on spot. The spot is more than 30 km from LoC.
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