A Kerala minister hoisted the national flag upside down in Kasaragod district during the Republic Day celebrations on Wednesday, January 26. This has triggered a political controversy as the opposition BJP demanded his resignation for showing disrespect to the tricolour.
The incident occurred when minister Ahamed Devarkovil, who holds the Port and Archaeology portfolios in the Left Government, unfurled the flag at the Municipal Stadium on Wednesday morning. A nominee of the Indian National League (INL), which is an ally of the CPI(M)-led LDF, Devarkovil was the chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations at the district headquarters. Reportedly no one, including the minister, peoples' representatives, police officials and other dignitaries present on the occasion, noticed the gaffe.
After the flag hoisting, the minister saluted it and proceeded with his speech, amidst which some media personnel who gathered there to cover the event pointed out the error. Then the minister soon came back, lowered the flag and hoisted it again correctly. Meanwhile, BJP state chief K Surendran sought the immediate resignation of Devarkovil and a police case be registered against him and the officials concerned who showed disrespect to the national flag.
"It is a matter of serious concern that the minister also saluted the tricolour after it was hoisted upside down. It is ridiculous that despite such a grave mistake, neither the minister nor the officials realised the error," he said in a statement. He also wanted the state Director General of Police to order a probe into the incident. Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament, Rajmohan Unnithan, who was present during the occasion, termed the incident as "unfortunate" and wanted the government to take action.
In Kerala, at the 13 district headquarters, various state Cabinet Ministers took the salute on Republic Day, while in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, it was done by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.