On the occasion of Muharram 2022 in the city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, the holy and sacred national flag-Tricolour of the Republic of India (Tiranga) has been defaced by some Muslim Youths. The Ashok Chakra at in the centre of the Tiranga has been replaced with Kalma (an Islamic Symbol). The news has set a furore all over India as the very symbol of India’s honour has been disrespected time and again.
The incident occurred outside the Masjid-e-Rehmat Mosque in Mahbubnagar (Kanpur) where a huge crowd gathered to protest against Nupur Sharma’s Comments on the Islamic Prophet Muhammad after their ritual Friday prayers in the mosque. The gathering also roared slogans against the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). Their main intent was to submit a memorandum to the District Collector to take serious actions with reference to the BJP Spokesperson.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) together with Bajrang Dal have reported this grave incident to Kanpur Police. The Commissioner of Kanpur Police (BP Jogdand) has stated that the culprits and perpetrators will be arrested and punished as per law. But this is not the first time when Tiranga was insulted. After the remarks made by Nupur Sharma, some Muslims had written Islamic quotes and verses on the national flag on the 10th of June 2022 in Telangana. In order to quell this disturbance, heavy police contingents were deployed. This incident has been described as a “challenge” to the Center.
As per the Flag Code of India (2002), the Indian National Flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of India. It is a symbol of national pride, and there is universal affection and respect for and loyalty to the national flag. It occupies a unique and special place in the emotions and psyche of Indian people. Section 2 of the Flag Code also states that any sort of insult (spoken/written), burning, defacing, defiling and trampling shall imprisonment for three years along with a heavy fine in a public place or anywhere.
There have been several occasions when even Indians had disrespected the “Tiranga”. Some prominent examples are: The legendary cricket player of India- Sachin Tendulkar cut a cake consisting of the colours of “Tiranga” The Same year, Mandira Bedi wore a sari that contained the tricolour. Bollywood celebrities such as Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have been booked for violations.
The family members of a 32-year-old farmer named Balvinder Singh were charged for covering his dead body with tricolour. The Prevention of Insults to the National Honor Act 1971, clearly states that the flag can only be used for drapery in the funerals of armed forces, police and paramilitary forces. Sportswoman and tennis player Sania Mirza was criticised heavily for placing her feet on the table next to the national flag. A citizen from Assam was held for offering “namaz on the tricolour in Delhi Airport. He was later arrested and then freed on bail.
The national flag is central to India’s honour and also represents the Indian Culture. Its importance should not be taken lightly or else it shall invite wrath from the government and more so from the citizens of “Bharat”.