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Karnataka Flag Row: CM Siddaramaiah Asserts Nothing Wrong in State Flag
19 July 2017, 12:34 | Floyd Cook
While the committee will look into the legal aspects of a state flag, experts TOI spoke to say the existing laws may permit states to have a flag of their own.
The decision to have its own state flag however, goes against the stand the state took in 2012 under the BJP government, when it had told the Karnataka high court that it had not accepted suggestions to declare the red and yellow Kannada flag as the official state flag, as a separate flag would go against the "unity and integrity of the country".
The moves comes at the backdrop of representations made by writer Patil Puttappa and RTI activist Bheemappa Gadad, asking for such a flag.
"There is nothing wrong in having our own identity even in the form of a separate flag".
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has asked for President's Rule to be imposed in the state.
Gadad, a resident of Belagavi district, said he felt a flag for the state was required because of the alleged disrespect shown to Karnataka by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti, which has called for the district to be integrated into Maharashtra. "Where is it written that a state can not have its own flag?" he asked. Former Karnataka chief minister and Union minister D V Sadananda Gowda dismissed the move when questioned by reporters, saying, "India is one nation and there can not be two flags in one country".
Currently, only Jammu and Kashmir can have a flag as per the special status it enjoys under Article 370 of the Constitution. While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah maintained that nothing unconstitutional was afoot and dared the BJP to publicly reject the demand for an official flag for Karnataka, lost in the political noise were the realities of Kannada subnationalism, and the distinction, articulated by a Home Ministry official in New Delhi, between the "people" and the "state".
The Karnataka government has set up a nine-member committee to design a separate flag for the state and find a way to provide it Constitutional validity, The Times of India reported on Tuesday. If states have their flags, they could diminish the importance of the national flag.
Siddaramaiah, however, said: "There is nothing to legally prevent a state from having a flag". This issue had been raised earlier too, but such a flag only represents "the people and not the state", the official said.
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