Claims of the Indian tricolour being banned at the Chepauk or M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai surfaced online after a police sub-inspector was seen picking up an Indian flag from a bin and hurriedly folding it to keep it in a police van in a viral video shot during the Pakistan vs Afghanistan match on Monday, October 23. According to reports, some fans were allegedly stopped by the officer on duty near Gate 4 on the Victoria Hostel Road from entering the stadium with the national flag. Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai condemned the act and slammed DMK minister and CM MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin, whose constituency includes Chepauk. “The police outside the stadium disallowed fans from carrying the Indian flag to today’s match in Chepauk. Who gave TNCA this right?” he wrote on X.
Consequently, Republic World published a report titled, “Annamalai tears into DMK & TNCA after Indian flag banned at Pak vs Afghanistan WC match in Chennai”. (Archive)
RSS mouthpiece Organiser also published a similar report, claiming that the DMK Government had “stooped to a new low” by banning the Indian Tricolour at the Chepauk stadium. (Archive)
Right Wing influencer @MrSinha_ tweeted “Can you believe it, Indian tricolour is banned in an Indian Stadium itself?..”. (Archive)
Can you believe it, Indian tricolour is banned in an Indian Stadium itself?
Tamilnadu police snatched & disrespected our Tiranga during #AFGvPAK match just because INDI alliance govt didn’t want Pakistani fans to feel uncomfortable..
This is not an appeasement but treason!!! pic.twitter.com/BABqy1fWKe
— Mr Sinha (@MrSinha_) October 23, 2023
Right Wing influencer Arun Pudur also tweeted the same claim. He said, “Indian Flag Banned By I.N.D.I Alliance partner DMK. Cricket Fans Prevented From Carrying Indian Tricolour For in Chepauk, Pakistan T-Shirt Clad People Allowed…”. (Archive)
Indian Flag Banned By I.N.D.I Alliance partner DMK.
Cricket Fans Prevented From Carrying Indian Tricolour For in Chepauk, Pakistan T-Shirt Clad People Allowed.
Police officials stationed at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk, Chennai (Assembly constituency of DMK Minister… pic.twitter.com/KJvFcUcO5v
— Arun Pudur (@arunpudur) October 23, 2023
Verified user Arvinth Easwaran also tweeted the same claim. (Archive)
— Arvinth Easwaran (@arvinth_e) October 23, 2023
We found a statement by Triplicane DCP Deshmukh Shekhar Sanjay to media outlet Indian Express clarifying that there was no ban on carrying any flags to the stadium and that the police on duty were asked to watch out only for flags and banners with controversial themes. “There is absolutely no ban on fans carrying any flags. As per the information we received, the officer stopped a couple of fans from carrying the national flag and later put it in a nearby bin and then took it. We conducted an initial inquiry and the officer was transferred to the control room,” the DCP said.
We also found a reply to @MrSinha_’s tweet by the official handle of the Greater Chennai Police stating that this was an isolated case. “It is observed that many spectators are freely carrying and displaying the Indian tri-colour inside the stadium.”, read their tweet.
The incident mentioned has been brought to notice. Enquiry has been initiated against the SI concerned deployed for bandobust duty at MAC Stadium . He was recalled to Control Room. Appropriate action as per law will be taken based on the findings.
Apart from this solitary…
— GREATER CHENNAI POLICE -GCP (@chennaipolice_) October 23, 2023
Alt News had reached out to a senior police officer who informed us that the incident was the result of “sheer oversight of an enthusiastic inspector who wanted to prevent flags of Israel and Palestine into the stadium”. He also provided us with images of cricket fans holding the Indian tricolour inside the Chepauk stadium during the Pakistan vs Afghanistan match.
In fact, BJP politician Vinoj P. Selvam himself posted photos holding the Indian tricolour at the Chepauk during the match.
— Vinoj P Selvam (@VinojBJP) October 23, 2023
To sum up, a police sub-inspector did prohibit some fans from carrying the Indian tricolour at the Chepauk during the Pakistan vs Afghanistan match, but the claim that the Indian tricolour was banned is false. Several fans were spotted waving the tricolour during the same match. Senior police officers have described the SI’s act as an ‘isolated incident’ and the “sheer oversight of an enthusiastic inspector”. He was recalled to control room and an inquiry is on.
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