In a deeply embarrassing moment for Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the national tricolor fell off the post as she hoisted it at Bakshi stadium in Srinagar, where the main Independence Day function of the state was held.

Mehbooba, who was hoisting the national flag as Chief Minister for the first time, pulled the string attached to the post only to see the tricolor fall from the post and land on the ground.

Amid the embarrassing situation, two personnel from the security detail of the Chief Minister held the flag in their hands till Mehbooba gave the ceremonial salute to the flag.

Later in her maiden Independence Day speech Mufti made an emotional appeal to agitating youth not to be misled by vested interests who want to keep the valley burning and maintained that dialogue is the only way to resolve issues. She cautioned that Kashmir should not be allowed to become another Syria or Afghanistan where there is instability and absence of safety of life.

She urged the people to give her time so that she could work on the plans and programmes she had charted for peace and progress of the state and that they should not be misled by false propaganda about attempts to erode the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

She blamed the successive central leaderships, starting from Jawaharlal Nehru, for the problems of Kashmir and hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the issues, completing the process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Speaking in the backdrop of over month-long unrest in the valley triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, she underlined that any remedy could be found only through dialogue in the "great" Indian democracy.

With regard to protests over Wani's killing in a gunbattle on July 8, Mehbooba said: 


"It is not that an encounter has happened in Kashmir for the first time...
Children should not be indulging in agitation. They should be going to schools and colleges. It is not for children to solve big issues... Parents should also ensure that their children do not go out where their lives could be in danger."

She said "vested interests" were misleading the youth and making them a "shield" to pursue their nefarious designs, while their own kids are tucked away in safety.

"I will not talk about the separatists but about the middlemen for whom it (stone pelting) is a business. Find out where their children are while innocent kids are being used for protests," she said.

"Gun will not solve the problem. Gun has not solved any issue," Mehbooba said, adding there is no way other than the dialogue to resolve problems and address grievances.

Emphasising that dialogue is the only way to resolve issues, she expressed hope that Modi-led government at the Centre will take steps for addressing the political, social and economic issues confronting the state by initiating dialogue with all stakeholders in the state.