Authorities in Haryana's Karnal district found that a ration depot holder has been forcing the customers to purchase the national flag in order to avail their ration supplies. After having found out about the incident on August 10, the officials had the vendor's license suspended.
As a part of the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign, which marks India's 75th Independence Year Celebrations, the Indian government had proposed that every Indian national purchase the national flag and hoist it in their homes.
Misinterpreting The Campaign
Under the campaign, the government hoped to cover a population of 100 Crore Indians. The flags are being sold across shops, stores, and government offices to ensure that the tricolours are made available to everyone. However, this was proposed for those who would want to be a part of the campaign voluntarily and was not enforced as a mandate.
A ration depot holder in the Karnal district of Haryana sold these flags to customers for ₹20 as a mandatory purchase to buy the ration. He told several media houses that he has been selling the flags at ₹20 as there are orders from the government and that the inspectors have directed him to sell the flag as mandatory to everyone who purchases ration. He stands by his statement that he was simply following orders from the government.
The ration depot holder was soon identified by the district administration, who suspended his license with immediate effect. Officials from the Chandigarh government clarified that people should buy the tricolours only if they want to. The tricolours were made available at such public distribution system (PDS) centres to ease the public, and the remaining flags that did not sell out would be taken back by the officials after August 15.
In the light of this incident, Karnal Deputy Commissioner Anish Yadav stated that "For the convenience of the public, the district administration has provided 88,400 flags for ration depot holders. As per willingness, anyone can take the flag at the rate of ₹20. Nobody needs to be misled", reported the Indian Express.
He further added that the authorities must be immediately alerted if anybody misleads people in a similar fashion.
Response From The Parties
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of selling "nationalism" and rebuked the move through a Facebook post which read, "Nationalism can never be sold. It is shameful that while giving rations, the poor are being asked to cough up ₹20 for the tricolour".
Along with the post, he shared a video on his profile which showed several ration card holders complaining about having to purchase the flags as mandatory in order to get some ration.
Prior to this, BJP's Member Of Parliament, Varun Gandhi, had also brought this issue to the mainstream and called it "unfortunate" that the Independence celebrations are turning into a burden on the poor.
Also Read: 'Har Ghar Tiranga': Here's Everything That You Need To Know