Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Defends Removal of Hanuman Flag, ‘Priority is Tricolor’
The recent episode of a Hanuman flag being taken down in Karnataka, India, has sparked controversy and drawn sharp reactions from various political and religious groups. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s defense of this action has further intensified the debate.
On January 22, 2024, authorities in Mandya district, Karnataka, removed a Hanuman flag hoisted on a 108-foot pole in Keragodu village. A state government order prohibiting the flying of non-national flags on government buildings and structures justified the decision. This triggered protests from Hindu right-wing groups who accused the government of disrespecting Hindu sentiments.
Siddaramaiah has defended the flag’s removal, arguing that the government only followed protocol and upheld the law. He highlighted that the national flag should be the only emblem flown on government property, representing the unity and secular nature of the Indian state. He further highlighted the potential for misuse and conflict if religious flags were allowed on government buildings.
“It is not right to fly the saffron flag instead of the national flag. They should have hoisted the national flag,” The Hindustan Times quoted the CM as saying.
The move has triggered a massive political controversy, with the BJP blaming the Congress for the unrest around the incident.
“When the Gram Panchayat board decided to hoist the Hanuman flag in the village of Keragodu in Mandya district, the state government showed the audacity to bring down the flag through the police force. The Congress government is the reason behind the state’s deteriorating law and order situation,” said Karnataka BJP president BY Vijayendra.
Opposition Leader R. Ashoka criticized the Congress government for its alleged “anti-Hindu stance.”. “What was the need for police action? Why didn’t the administration speak to the villagers? There was a gram panchayat resolution to allow the flag,” he said.
Critics of Siddaramaiah’s stance argue that he is being insensitive to Hindu religious sentiments. They point out that Hanuman is an important deity for many Hindus, and removing his flag from a Hindu-majority village has hurt their feelings.