The Telegraph
Thursday , August 17 , 2017

Anthem 'insult' finger at RSS chief

Mohan Bhagwat

Aug. 16: A CPM parliamentarian today alleged that Vande Mataram, not the national anthem, was sung after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat hoisted the Tricolour at an Independence Day event in a Kerala school in violation of the Flag Code of India.

Bhagwat yesterday hoisted the national flag at the Karnakayamman Higher Secondary School in Palakkad despite the district collector's order that only the school head or an elected representative should unfurl the Tricolour.

The CPM's M.B. Rajesh, who represents Palakkad in the Lok Sabha, has in a Facebook post alleged that the national anthem was sung as an afterthought when almost everyone had left the school premises. Rajesh wrote that Jana Gana Mana was sung when someone at the programme pointed to the omission.

The flag code states that the flag salutation will be followed by the national anthem.

Rajesh said that by violating the flag code and "insulting" the national anthem, the RSS had iterated its contempt for national symbols.

"The RSS had never accepted the Tricolour as our national flag and Jana Gana Mana as our national anthem. This irreverence was once again shown by Bhagwat in yesterday's incident," the CPM parliamentarian wrote.

When this newspaper contacted school principal V. Sreekumar for his comments on the charges made by Rajesh, he said "I am travelling" and hung up.

The CPM-led Kerala government had issued a circular on August 5 instructing all schools to ensure that only the head of the institution or an elected representative of the people is allowed to hoist the national flag.

On getting wind of Karnakayamman Higher Secondary School's plans to invite the RSS chief to hoist the flag, Palakkad district collector P. Marykutty had sent a similar memo on August 14.

Referring to the school's move to invite Bhagwat, Rajesh wrote on Facebook: "This was an intentional act, aimed at creating provocation. As peace and normalcy is prevailing in the state, the RSS is not happy with it," the MP wrote.

Rajesh accused Bhagwat of trying to create a controversy to serve the twin political objectives of disrupting peace in Kerala and diverting focus from the deaths of children in a Gorakhpur hospital.

The RSS and the CPM have been locked in acrimony for decades in Kerala, where the BJP managed to open its account only last year by winning an Assembly seat. The rivalry has snowballed into a series of political murders in the past few weeks.

Palakkad collector Marykutty had yesterday told the local media that a case would be filed against the school principal. Marykutty was not available for comment today as she was in a meeting in state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

RSS office-bearers in Kerala could also not be contacted as they were apparently busy at a two-day convention chaired by Bhagwat in Palakkad. A spokesperson of the Bangalore RSS accused the CPM-led Kerala government of creating problems since RSS sympathisers ran the school.

"It was a deliberate act by the Kerala government and the district administration to create trouble for the school just because it is run by RSS people," said Rajesh Padmar, the spokesperson who is also the point person for RSS affairs in Kerala as well.

"Our chief (Bhagwat) was the guest of honour at the event organised by the school. I am sure the school is capable enough to answer any queries," Padmar said.

#The managing committee of Karnakayamman Higher Secondary School is dominated by RSS sympathisers. All RSS chiefs except the outfit's founder and first head, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, have visited the school, set up in 1965.

Padmar said that one of the RSS's first sakhas in Kerala had been held in the school locality in 1942.

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