A Facebook post by a Indian-origin man showing the Singapore flag on a T-shirt being ripped up to reveal the Indian flag underneath has caused outrage in the city-state, a media report said on Friday.
The image, which is believed to have first surfaced on August 14, on the eve of Independence Day, was widely shared online when it was posted on the Singapore Indians & Expats page by Avijit Das Patnaik. The page has over 11,000 members, according to a report by Tabla!, a Friday weekly for the Indian community here.
Patnaik, who has been living in Singapore for a decade, posted it alongside a caption in Hindi that said, “Phir bhi dil hai…” (Still my heart is…) and alludes to a popular Bollywood song, the report said.
Many netizens have deemed it offensive, saying the image was disrespectful to Singapore as it showed the graphic Singapore flag being ripped by a pair of hands to shreds. The image has since been taken down. Police have confirmed they are looking into the matter, it added.
When contacted, Patnaik apologised and said he did not mean to offend anyone. “I did not design the image and had already seen it being circulated widely, which is why I assumed it was okay for me to post the image,” Patnaik said, adding, “I love Singapore deeply and am always signing praises about this country. My intention was never to cause so much grievance. I just felt the image represented that deep inside, the heart beats for our motherland.”
DBS Bank, which is Patnaik’s employer, also commented in a Facebook post that it was looking into the matter.
The Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act states that no person shall treat the flag with disrespect. The penalty is a maximum fine of Singapore $10,000.