For the first time in 18 years, the national flag was not hoisted in the city’s nerve centre, Lal Chowk, on Republic Day on Tuesday.
For a change, the place didn’t look like a garrison. On the contrary, it was deserted as people stayed indoors due to a strike called by the separatists.
The Tricolour was first hoisted at curfew-bound Lal Chowk’s clock tower by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Republic Day in 1992. It was meant to be a gesture daring the militants to disrupt the event in the centre of Srinagar three years after militancy broke out in the Kashmir Valley in 1989.
Since then, the national flag had been hoisted at Lal Chowk on Republic Day and Independence Day every year amid tight security.
“Today we decided to discontinue the custom and participate in the state function which was just a kilometre away,’’ said Central Reserve Police Force spokesperson Prabakar Tripathi.
“We don’t know who started the custom. We used to do it (flag hoisting) as the forces in charge before us had done ... There is no order, logic or significance to it. We don’t know why it was started,’’ he said.