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Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat landed in controversy after he unfurled the Indian flag at a government-aided school in Palakkad despite being told by authorities that political personalities cannot do so and only the head of the institution or people's representatives had the right.
The District Collector and police had specifically told the Karnakeyamen School management in Palakkad that since the school was state-supported, only people's representatives or the head of the institution could raise the flag.
The school which reportedly belongs to RSS supporters had invited Bhagwat to be the chief guest for their celebrations on India's Independence day and on the occasion Bhagwat himself hoisted the tricolour at the school, sparking controversy.
Palakkad Lok Sabha member and CPI-M leader M.B. Rajesh accused the RSS of trying to incite trouble in Kerala and said, "This is a brazen violation of the law of the land. This is a school funded and supported by the Kerala government. The rules and regulations have to be followed. Today this did not happen."
Alappuzha Lok Sabha member and Congress leader K.C. Venugopal also alleged that the RSS and the BJP were implementing their hidden agenda.
Meanwhile, V.K. Mani, a school official, said the school authorities had done no wrong.
"The order is very clear on what can be done. We have abided by the rules. Let the government tell us whether we have violated any rule or law," he said.
BJP defended Bhagwat, saying that every citizen has the right to hoist the flag.
BJP district president E Krishnadas quoted the Flag Code of India, saying, "The Flag Code of India section (II) says that the headmaster, the pupil leader and the person unfurling the flag (other than headmaster) will stand three paces behind the flag-staff. This means that apart from the headmaster and pupil leader, others can also unfurl the tri-colour".