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Tricolour below belt costs freedom

Krishnagar, Dec. 23: A retired headmaster of a primary school in Nadia was arrested today for getting shorts stitched from a Tricolour.

Dhulipada Dutta, a resident of Plasseypara near Tehatta, about 170km from Calcutta, had given the three-foot flag to tailor Bijoy Mistri on Friday to make three shorts, ignoring his young daughter’s warning.

Police said Dutta was charged under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971. He could be sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment, Chandan Banerjee, the inspector in charge of Tehatta police station, said.

The tailor, who also faces the same charge, is absconding.

The police said some youths saw Mistri cutting up the Tricolour in his shop. “We forced the tailor to take us to Dutta, who told us that he had acted on a whim,” Sabyasachi Mistry, a Class XII student of Tehatta High School, said.

“We then called up officials of Tehatta police station and lodged a complaint yesterday.”

The police raided Dutta’s house this morning and picked him up. But Mistri had fled by then.

The retired headmaster broke down during interrogation, an official said. “He told us that he had bought the flag five years ago after his retirement. But as it was of no use to him, he thought of making three shorts out of it,” he said. “He did not know that it would warrant a punishment.”

Dutta was produced before the Nadia assistant chief judicial magistrate and has been remanded in judicial custody till January 5.

Dutta’s wife Purnima said their daughter Arunima, who studies in Class X in Tehatta High School, had repeatedly cautioned her father against “destroying” the Tricolour. “My husband has been suffering from depression since he retired in 2002,” she added.

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