Bhubaneswar: A ruling BJD activist was
Wednesday arrested on the charge of disfiguring the national flag at the party`s foundation day celebration where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was present.
"We have arrested Janakar Sahu, a BJD activist, who had
allegedly disfigured the tri-colour by erasing Ashok Chakra
and writing his party`s name on it in Oriya letters," a police
Sahu had handed over the "disfigured" flag to Patnaik
at the function held to celebrate the 14th foundation day of
the party here on December 26.
Janakar, however, claimed that he had not committed
any mistake knowingly. "I was not aware that it was the
national flag," he said.
"I had no intention to disrespect the national flag.
In fact, I had saved the flag from being burnt at the funeral
of former chief minister Biju Patnaik in 1997," Sahu, who was
picked up by the police for questioning from his house last
Police had received three written compaints from as
many persons on the alleged insult to the national flag at the
BJD`s function on December 27.
They swung into action only after one of the complainants moved a local court seeking its intervention
"I filed a case at the court of the sub-divisional
judicial magistrate (SDJM), Bhubaneswar as the police did not
take any action even 36 hours of receiving complaints," said
Dipti Ranjan Mohanty, President of Orissa Lok Dal, a fringe
In his petition, Mohanty had accused the chief
minister and four other state ministers of insulting the
BJD`s local MLA Bhagirathi Badajena, who was also
present at the function, however, admitted that it was a
"blunder" to disfigure the national flag. "The person
responsible for the act should be punished under provision of
the Flag Code of India, 2002," Badajena said.
Patnaik had earlier said "as far as I am concerned
there is absolutely no question of showing any disrespect to
our national flag."