Sudhanva Shetty Shetty
Writer, coffee-addict, likes folk music & long walks in the rain. Firmly believes that there's nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
Around 15 youths allegedly heckled a college principal and forced him out of college premises for hoisting the national flag while wearing his shoes.
The incident happened on Independence Day, August 15.
The man who was heckled, Mohammed Yaqeen, is the principal of Government Junior College at Ailapur village.
It is still unclear as to who the hecklers were. According to The Indian Express, the mob included TRS, ABVP and Congress activists; ANI tweeted that the mobsters were ABVP men and India Today reported that the mob was comprised of ABVP and RSS workers.
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2017
On Tuesday, when Yaqeen stood up to hoist the national flag, he was asked by the sarpanch and several villagers to remove his shoes. They thought it was disrespectful and violation of the rules.
Yaqeen, however, told them there was no such rule and went ahead and hoisted the flag.
As soon as the national anthem was over, several youths started heckling Yaqeen, forcing him off the stage and out of the college campus. In videos of the incident circulated on social media, these people are seen shouting slogans like “Principal, Down Down!” even as Yaqeen is manhandled and forced out of the college gate.
RSS/ABVP goons assaulting a Muslim Principal in Ailapur college, Nizamabad Dist,Telangana,for wearing shoes while unfurling National flag pic.twitter.com/mvt7FTetb4
— Engineer Shareef (@ishareef639) August 16, 2017
Other videos of the incident show a more communal crowd gathered around Yaqeen, demanding that he apologise, as they chant “Jai Shree Ram!”
Armoor area Circle Inspector Narasimha Swami told The Indian Express, “They (the villagers) formed a chain around him and forced him out of the college campus gate while shouting.”
On Wednesday, 15 villagers in Nizamabad district were arrested for their alleged involvement in the incident.
The Nizamabad police has booked a case under 290 (Punishment for public nuisance), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and others against unknown people and investigating the incident.
“Principal Yaquinuddin lodged the complaint at Nandipet police station at 7 am on Wednesday. Based on his complaint we have arrested 15 youths of a local group called Seva Youth, comprising TRS, ABVP and Congress activists,” said Sub-Inspector of Nandipet Police Station, A Jana Reddy, as quoted by The Indian Express.
Clause 2.3 of the Flag Code of India defines the rules to be followed for the National Flag to be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.). It gives eight sets of model instructions to be followed in this scenario, and none of these have to do with shoes or footwear. In fact, shoes and footwear are not mentioned anywhere in the Flag Code.
Therefore, hoisting the National Flag while wearing shoes is neither illegal nor disrespectful.
It is highly unacceptable for mobs in our country to take the law in their own hands. The principal was not doing anything disrespectful or illegal. Politicians and dignitaries never remove their footwear before hoisting or unfurling the Flag. Those who think the principal dishonoured the National Flag by hoisting it while wearing shoes should try to read the national Flag Code before jumping to baseless conclusions.
The Logical Indian community hopes that the goons who mistreated Mr Yaqeen are properly identified and punished by the police.
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