The owner of a fair pricing shop in Haryana’s Karnal district of India claims he was following orders from higher ups when he required clients to purchase a flag for 20 rupees each, before they could receive their rations through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
On a video that has gone popular online, several people claim that they were compelled to purchase a national flag in order to receive their allotment. Varun Gandhi, a BJP member, posted this video on Twitter in an apparent jab at the federal administration. The description of the video said, “It would be unfortunate if celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence become a burden for the poor.”
आजादी की 75वीं वर्षगाँठ का उत्सव गरीबों पर ही बोझ बन जाए तो दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण होगा।
राशनकार्ड धारकों को या तिरंगा खरीदने पर मजबूर किया जा रहा है या उसके बदले उनके हिस्से का राशन काटा जा रहा है।
हर भारतीय के हृदय में बसने वाले तिरंगे की कीमत गरीब का निवाला छीन कर वसूलना शर्मनाक है। pic.twitter.com/pYKZCfGaCV
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) August 10, 2022
Rahul Gandhi also claimed that retailers were pressuring ration card holders to purchase the national flag, and he charged the BJP with encouraging “nationalism” and undermining the self-respect of the underprivileged.
In a Facebook post in Hindi, Gandhi said “tricolour is our pride and it resides in every Indian’s heart” and “nationalism can never be sold. It is shameful that while giving ration, poor are being asked to cough up Rs 20 for the tricolour,” Gandhi alleged.
“Along with the tricolour, the BJP government is also attacking the self-respect of the poor of our country,” the former head of the Congress stated.
Read more: 1965 Kashmir War: The Political Dimension
In the past, there have been allegations from the Jammu and Kashmir cities of Anantnag and Udhampur about allegedly official directives telling store owners and students to pay Rs 20 as a “deposit fee” before the tricolour may be flown. After the directive went viral on social media, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Anantnag was forced to revoke a divisive circular for schools in the district requiring children and teachers to pay the Rs 20 fee.
In a same vein, officials from the municipal committee of Bijbehara town in Anantnag can be seen announcing things and warning store owners that “in case they failed to deposit the sum, their licenses may get terminated” in an allegedly J&K-sourced film.
The UT opposition parties had criticized the regional government. Patriotism “comes naturally and can’t be imposed,” said Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister and current PDP leader, and Yusuf Tarigami, leader of the CPI (M).
The incident is just one more illustration of the extreme nationalism that the Indian government possesses and wishes to propagate by putting it on defenseless civilians.