India’s Supreme Court seeks government stance on green flags

Petition by Shia Waqf Board chairman calls for ban on green flags with a crescent and star resembling flags of Pakistan Muslim League

New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court (SC) on Monday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre to respond to Shia Waqf Board chairman’s plea seeking a countrywide ban on hoisting green flags with a crescent and star, calling it “un-Islamic.”

In his plea, Shia Waqf Board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi said green flags with a crescent and star resembled the flags of Pakistan Muslim League, which was a party belonging to “enemy country”.

“The crescent star flag in green colour owes its origins to the erstwhile Muslim League, founded by Nawab Viqar ul-Mulk and Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1906. But now, it is being used by Indian Muslims who have been treating it as an Islamic flag,” Rizvi said.

Hearing the petition, a bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta to seek instructions from the union government on the matter.

“Take instructions on what the stand of the government is. Sometimes it would be difficult for the government… they are blamed that they are taking mala fide action. But now the matter is with the court, they can take instructions,” the bench said.

The court directed Rizvi to serve a copy of the petition to Mehta, who appeared for the centre.

“During my petitioner’s visit to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Karnataka and other places in the country, he saw flags on several buildings and religious structures, which were a cause of tension between Hindu and Muslim communities,” senior advocate S.P. Singh, appearing for Rizvi, told the top court.

Singh said such flags were being hoisted in Muslim-dominated areas with utmost impunity.

“Such flags have never been part of any Islamic practice and do not have any role or significance in Islam. They only cause rift and misunderstanding,” Singh added.

Rizvi said an Islamic flag was a flag either representing Islam, a concept or person related to Islam, or a state, military force or other entity associated with political Islam.

“The green flag with a crescent and star hoisted in most parts of India is definitely not an Islamic flag,” he told Gulf News.


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