Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 27:
A day after the Twitterati and social media warriors set the virtual world on fire over still pictures of Vice President Hamid Ansari not saluting the Tricolor during the 66thRepublic Day celebrations at Rajpath in New Delhi, an Odisha-based outfit knocked the doors of President Pranab Mukherjee today seeking stringent and punitive action against him, if found guilty of disrespect to the national flag.
Odisha Surakhya Sena, a social outfit, submitted a memorandum addressed to the President Pranab Mukherjee in which it questioned Ansari’s patriotism as he did not salute the national flag.
“Something unexpected in a quite brazen form happened making a mockery of Republic Day parade. President Pranab Mukharjee, U.S President Barak Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, and Defence Minister Manohar Parikar graced the occasion to pay respect to the national flag. Out of these dignitaries, Barak Obama and Hamid Ansari were not spotted saluting the national flag,” the organisation said.
As Barak Obama is not a citizen of India, so it is not mandatory for him to salute the Indian flag. But Hamid Ansari, being the Vice President of India, holds the second highest constitutional post of India next only to President and is thus duty-bound to pay respect to the national flag. Not saluting the national flag is an insult to our national flag, it said adding that stringent and punitive measures should be taken against Ansari if he is found guilty.
“We request you to issue a show cause notice to Hamid Ansari, Vice President India, asking him about his motive in disrespecting the national flag,” the organisation urged in the memorandum.
Hours after telecast of the Republic Day parade yesterday on national television, the social media went into a tizzy, criticising the Vice President by posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook showing Ansari in a poor light as he did not salute the national flag during the national anthem.
“Jihadi sympathiser”, “anti-India”, “traitor”, were among some of the epithetes hurled at the Vice President of India with some even demanding that he be impeached. The more outraged ones advised him to ‘join the ISIS’.
However, Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s office clarified that in keeping with the protocol, the Vice-President does not offer a salute when he is not the principal dignitary.
Gurdeep Singh Sappal, officer on special duty (OSD) to the Vice-President, tweeted: “When National anthem is played, Principal Dignitary & persons in uniform take salute. Those in civil dress stand in attention.” He explained that at the Republic Day parade, the President of India, as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, takes the salute and by protocol, the Vice-President is required to stand in attention.
“When the Vice-President is the Principal Dignitary, he salutes during National Anthem, wearing a head gear,” Mr. Sappal said in his tweet. When the National Anthem is played, those in civil dress stand in attention and as per the Flag Code of India, all persons present should face the flag and stand in attention, he clarified.