No question of disrespecting National Flag: Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Facing flak from opposition parties for allegedly insulting the National Tricolor, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said he had not shown any 'disrespect' to it.

"As far as I am concerned there is absolutely no question of showing any disrespect to our National Flag," he told reporters at the sidelines of a function here.

The ruling BJD has claimed that the flag in question was not a national flag as it bore no Ashok Chakra.

Patnaik's reaction came a day after the police here received three separate complaints alleging that the chief minister and his party the BJD had insulted the tricolor at the function held to celebrate the party's 14th birth anniversary here on Sunday.

''We are probing the allegation made by the three persons. First of all police are ascertaining whether the flag in question was a national flag as has been alleged," said Capital police station inspector-in-charge Rabi Satpathy.

Prima-facie is required to register a case in the matter, he added.

However, local MP Prasanna Patsani had told the gathering at the BJD meeting that the flag was used to cover the body of former chief minister and Patnaik's father Biju Patnaik before he was cremated at Swargadwar in Puri with full state honours.

Patsani had also thanked Janakar Sahu, who had presented the flag to the chief minister at the meeting. The flag bore BJD's poll symbol conch at a corner with the Ashok Chakra erased.

Sahu had later corroborated Patsani's statement on the flag and said he had presented it to Patnaik little knowing that his act of writing name of BJD in the flag amounted to insulting the National Flag.

"It is certainly a National Flag and the man (Sahu) had written BJD's name in ink on it. He did it unwittingly," local MLA Bhagirathi Badjena, who had felicitated the man at the programme, said.

Opposition parties have condemned the incident and demanded apology from the chief minister.