Talking to TOI, Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi lashed out at the opposition and said spreading negativity was the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of these people.
Naqvi totally disagreed with the opposition leaders who alleged that the BJP had violated the Flag Code of India or insulted the tricolour in any way.
The Union minister said, “Some people have a problem. Spreading negativity in the society has become their USP. It is the country’s culture and tradition to fulfil the wishes of a person who is no more. But some people who are unknowledgeable, do dynastic politics and indulge in sycophancy would not understand its importance.”
Naqvi was referring to Kalyan Singh’s wish in one of his emotional speeches that he wanted his body to be covered with the BJP flag.
The controversy started with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor objecting to the manner in which the BJP flag was placed over the national flag on Kalyan Singh’s mortal remains when they were kept for dignitaries to pay their last respects in Lucknow on August 22.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda and BSP president Mayawati were some of the dignitaries who paid their last tributes to Kalyan, who was also the a former Rajasthan governor. He was cremated in Aligarh on Monday.
In a tweet, Tharoor said, “As one who had to fight a court case for four years merely for placing my hand on my heart during the singing of the National Anthem (rather than standing stiffly to attention), I think the nation should be told how the ruling party feels about this insult.”
The opposition leaders, while criticising the BJP, have based their argument on two provisions related to the national flag.
They cited Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act which says, “Insults to Indian National Flag and Constitution of India”, says: “Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”
Some opposition leaders pointed para number 3.16 of Section IV of the Flag Code of India which says, “No other flag or bunting shall be placed higher than or above or, except as hereinafter provided, side by side with the National Flag; nor shall any object including flowers or garlands or emblem be placed on or above the Flag-mast from which the Flag is flown.”
Indian Youth Congress president BV Srinivas said they felt ashamed at the insult to the national flag.
शान-ए-तिरंगा🇮🇳, हम शर्मिंदा है 🙏 https://t.co/pbM5fGAx4Y
— Srinivas BV (@srinivasiyc) 1629652666000
Former IAS officer Anil Swarup said on Twitter: “Knowing late Kalyan Singh ji as well as I did, he would have detested placing the party flag over the National Flag. Someone really messed it up here… and others allowed it to continue.”
Knowing Late Kalyan Singh ji as well as I did, he would have detested placing party flag over the National Flag. So… https://t.co/GPbWG0MRlM
— Anil Swarup (@swarup58) 1629653823000
However, constitutional expert and former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash C Kashyap said he did not think that covering half of the national flag with the BJP flag was a disrespect to the tricolour.
He said according to rules, one who shows disrespect to or brings into contempt the Indian national flag shall be punished. “But no such disrespect or contempt has been shown by anyone in this case. There should be no politics over this matter. It is a grave matter because a senior leader has passed away and his wish has been respected without disrespecting the National Flag. It is infra dig to raise the issue.”
Kashyap further said he did not think it was the intention of anyone to disrespect the national flag. “Whether or not it is an insult to the national flag is a matter of opinion,” he added.
But another former Lok Sabha secretary general and constitutional expert PDT Achary held that covering the national flag with the BJP’s flag was an insult to the tricolour. “Only the National Flag is used to drape the dead body of a VIP. No other flag is put over it. This is not done,” he said.