Republic Day in Kerala: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat defies govt order, hoists flag at private school in Pallakad district

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat unfurled the tricolour in Kerala's Palakkad district on the occasion of Republic Day on Friday, defying the state government's diktat that prevented him from doing so.

CNN-News18 had said the Kerala government had issued a circular saying only heads of department can hoist the flag at public institutions. But Bhagwat decided to go ahead and do it in a private school.

Mohan Bhagwat hoisting the flag in Kerala's Palakkad district on Friday. Image courtesy: Twitter/ANI

Mohan Bhagwat hoisting the flag in Kerala's Palakkad district on Friday. Image courtesy: Twitter/ANI

However, a report on The Times of India said that the circular may run afoul of the Flag Code of India, which provides for people other than school heads to hoist the National Flag. The report also said observers believed the state government's circular was aimed solely at Bhagwat.

Furthermore, the school Bhagwat visited was run by the RSS, a report on News18 said. The Vyasa Vidhya Peetam Higher Secondary School in Palakkad, where the RSS chief hoisted the flag on Friday morning, is run by Vidhyabharti, an organisation of RSS workers, it said.

It also quoted RSS' state coordinator KK Balram as saying Bhagwat will now attend a three-day camp of RSS workers at the school and that "there is nothing wrong" in his hoisting the tricolour. Organisational work and expansion of Sangh's activities in the coming years would be discussed with more than 5,000 office-bearers taking part in the camp, Balram said.

Bhagwat had unfurled the tricolour at a government-aided school in Palakkad district on 15 August last year, flouting an order of the district administration. The state government had then ordered action against the school authorities.

The RSS has a considerable presence in Kerala, where the BJP is seeking to make inroads. Last year, BJP chief Amit Shah had flagged off his Janraksha Yatra in Kerala to protest against alleged violence against its workers in the state.

The state has been witnessing incidents of political violence involving cadres of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the RSS.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jan 26, 2018 10:09 AM

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