Kerala minister hoists the tricolor upside down; BJP demands resignation

PTI

Kasaragod (Kerala), 26 January

A Kerala minister hoisted the national flag upside down in this district during Republic Day celebrations on Wednesday, triggering a political controversy as the opposition BJP demanded his resignation for showing disrespect to the tricolor.

The incident took place when Ahmed Deverkovil, the minister handling the Ports and Archeology portfolio in the Left government, unfurled the flag at the Municipal Stadium here this morning.

Later, the minister told reporters that there was no lapse on his part and he unfurled the flag as soon as the rope was handed over by the officials concerned.

He also said that the district police chief and additional district magistrate have been asked to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the incident and assured that strict action will be taken against those responsible for the lapse.

Indian National League (INL) candidates, an ally of the CPM-led LDF, were the chief guests at the Republic Day celebrations at Devarkovil district headquarters.

“It was the officers who should have done a trial-run before the minister came for the flag hoisting. As far as the ministers are concerned, we can go and unfurl the flag at the appointed time as per the protocol. Certain action will be taken against those responsible for the incident. Investigation is going on,” he said.

Interestingly, no one, including ministers, public representatives, police officers and other dignitaries present on the occasion paid any heed to the lapse.

After unfurling the flag, the minister saluted it and proceeded with his speech, amid which some media personnel who were there to cover the event pointed out the error. Then the minister came back, lowered the flag and hoisted it correctly again.

Meanwhile, BJP state chief K Surendran demanded immediate resignation of Deverkovil and registration of a police case against him and the officials concerned for disrespecting the national flag.

“It is a matter of grave concern that the minister also gave the salute after hoisting the tricolor upside down. It is ridiculous that despite such a serious mistake, neither the minister nor the officials realized the mistake.

He also wanted the state DGP to order an inquiry into the incident.

Senior Congress leader and MP Rajmohan Unnithan, who was present on the occasion, termed the incident as “unfortunate” and wanted the government to act.