On Independence Day this year, a man in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj district hoisted the national flag outside his house. Little did he know that this patriotic act would land him in jail soon after.

The case

Forty-six-year-old Rakesh Kumar, who runs an eatery and lives near Bakner area of Kasganj city, put up a flag outside his house on August 15. The flag remained there for several days after which it allegedly got damaged.

Another local, Shiv Kumar, clicked the photo of the flag and tweeted it out, tagging UP police. Along with the photo, he also attached a letter “requesting” the authorities to act in the matter. The letter’s title states it is ‘regarding national flag, national anthem and national song’. It says that the complainant is still waiting for action in a matter where he was subjected to indecent behaviour regarding honour of national flag hoisted on a local Hero showroom (translated by ScoopWhoop News from Hindi). 

Here is the letter and the photo:

As a caption for the photo, the complainant simply says ‘National flag on a house in Kasganj-Etah’. 

b’The tweet about the damaged national flag which was posted to Kasganj Police’

The police jumps to action

Kasganj police took note of the matter on Twitter and filed an FIR against Rakesh Kumar on their own. He was booked under Section 2 of the Flag Code of India, 2002, and was eventually sent to jail on Saturday. He is currently out on bail and will be produced in court after the police completes the “investigation”.

As per the police, the man allegedly didn’t follow proper guidelines of the law while unfurling it.

For this “offense”, the man now faces a three-year imprisonment and fine if he gets convicted by the court!

‘Flags are not undergarments’

Sunil Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Kasganj district, told ScoopWhoop News, “We got the complaint through a Twitter user after which I immediately informed the local authorities to look into the matter.”

While adding that this offence is punishable under the law, Singh said, “There is a proper procedure to unfurl the national flag. You cannot just hang it outside your homes just like you hang your undergarments.”

He also maintained that it is irrelevant to discuss whether the crime was intentional or was an act of carelessness. “Carelessness which amounts to crime is a crime. If one carelessly hits another person while driving a car, isn’t it a crime,” he said. 

b’A representational image | Source: PTI’

Rakesh’s case is the first such instance in Kasganj where a person got arrested for insulting the national flag, reports The Times of India.

The complainant now says he never asked for arrest

Shiv Kumar, the Etah resident who sent out the tweets, told ScoopWhoop News that he never filed any complaint or asked for arrests and it was just a “request”.

“When I saw the national flag, I only requested the authorities to honour it. I did not make any complaint against anyone,” Shiv Kumar said. “I clicked this image for representation of the problem. Singling this case was not my intention. I don’t even know who lives in that house.”

Shiv Kumar also said that after he tweeted the photo, the police did not directly get in touch with him.  

“I don’t know what happened next. I am not in touch with the police regarding the same. All I wanted was that the national flag should be honoured which I brought it to the notice of the police,” he said.

“I personally feel that one can only request others. Respecting national flag cannot be forced,” he added.

Unusual hurry?

ScoopWhoop News could not get in touch with the accused. But this case raises some serious questions: should this case have really been a priority given the fact that Uttar Pradesh leads the country in number of crimes? Does the police show the same amount of enthusiasm and speed when it comes to crimes of more serious crimes like rape or theft?