The Indian national flag being waved at the US Capitol Hill on Thursday by one of the protesters sparked intrigue and enrage on social media as many Indians questioned its presence amid a sea of US flags.
As visuals of the protesters clashing with police and walking through the Capitol Hill were splashed on TV screens, many who spotted the video of the flag took to Twitter.
BJP leader and Lok Sabha member Varun Gandhi was among the first to tweet a video that showed the Indian national flag being carried by someone at the protest and noted that this is a fight Indians did not need to participate in.
Varun Gandhi tweeted:
“Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don’t need to participate in…”
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor soon replied to Varun Gandhi, commenting that the flag is a warning that there are some Indians with the same mentality as the “Trumpist mob, who enjoy using the flag as a weapon rather than a badge of pride”.
Another Twitter user, Bhakt Nahi, commented:
“Bro its protest and anarchy in the US Capitol, not the Olympics. Lower the Indian flag please.”
One video taken at the scene shows an unidentified person waving an Indian flag alongside dozens of red and blue ones. While some protesters held up the American star-spangled banner, others waved blue flags proclaiming Trump 2024. The lone Indian tricolour stood out in contrast in this video shared by journalist Alejandro Alvarez.
“Not the place where we’d like to see our Indian flag,” wrote one Twitter user who was among the first to notice it.
Meanwhile, a few Indian media organisations managed to trace the flag-bearer. He is Vinson Palathingal, a committed Republican and Trump supporter, originally hailing from Ernakulam in Kerala. He told media organisations that he went there for a dignified protest and not to run riot against what he calls a “fraudulent election.” He claimed that nearly 10 lakh people participated in the protest and requested that they should not be branded as attackers.
He added that he carried the Indian Tricolour to scuttle the oft-repeated allegations that Trump supporters were all racists. It is natural that people from different countries come with their own native country’s flag during such protests, he said.