The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flutter over flung flag

Calcutta, Dec. 1: A constable flung a cricket fan’s Tricolour to the ground at the Eden Garden gates this morning, creating a flutter even as Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman kept the Indian flag flying on the field.

As TV cameras beamed the incident, police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti, who was at the stadium, hurried to the spot to remove constable Biswanath Das from duty and ordered a departmental probe.

“The spectator arrived with the flag attached to a rod around 10.30. Players had complained yesterday about distractions around the sight-screen. So it was decided not to allow fans to sit beside the sight-screen or carry the flag attached to a rod (which can be waved),” joint commissioner P.K. Chattopadhyay said. “So, this fan’s flag was seized and handed to a constable who flung it down in disgust.”

The fan was stopped outside Gate 2. “A constable pulled out the rod and walked to another constable (Das), posted inside the adjacent clubhouse gate, and handed him the flag. (Das) threw it down,” a traffic sergeant said.

It wasn’t clear why the constable, from Park Street police station, acted that way.

The fan protested, asking if the police could dishonour the flag in the name of security. As the news spread, senior officers arrived at the spot, pacified the fan and escorted him to his seat.

Some officers informed Chakrabarti. After asking Das to leave, the commissioner kept visiting the main gate to guard against another gaffe.

A flag row had mired the ODI series, too, with a court complaint filed against BCCI vice-president and Rajasthan cricket chief Lalit Modi. It said that during the November 18 game at Jaipur, the flag was used as table cover on which foreign guests kept their liquor glasses.

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