As the world watched in horror as a violent mob stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, supporting President Donald Trump, and demanding the presidential election result be overturned, a video showing the Indian flag (tricolor) flying proudly among a sea of red, white and blue, grabbed the attention of many on social media, drawing derision from Indians in India and abroad.
As thousands of pro-Trump protesters pushed into the East Front of the Capitol grounds, some waving Trump flags, some American flags, a video taken at the scene, by journalist Alejandro Alvarez, shows an unidentified person waving an Indian flag. While some protesters held up the American Star Spangled Banner, others waved blue flags proclaiming Trump 2024. The lone Indian tricolor stood out in sharp contrast.
The video took social media by storm, sparking intrigue as well as enraged reactions as several Indians questioned what the Indian flag was doing at the U.S. Capitol protests.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi who was among those who noticed the Indian flag and asked on Twitter, “Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don’t need to participate in.”
There is, however, no doubt that there are a number of Hindu Americans who support President Trump for his perceived support for Prime Minister Modi and distrust President-elect Biden. It must be also noted that there were among protestors any number of groups that may not seem like a natural fit in a pro-Trump rally. There were dozens of Blacks who could be seen marching, wearing ‘Blacks for Trump’ T-shirts.
According to Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) working president, an outraged Dr. Prasad Adapa says, “Wednesday Jan 6, 2021, will always be etched in the pages of American history for the most shameful and undemocratic act of uncontrollable mobs storming into the august chamber of the House of Representatives, while they were discharging their constitutional duty of counting presidential electoral votes. In a democracy one has to the right to protest but one cannot defile the temple of democracy like Capitol Hill of Parliament.”
Adapa further adds, “Also, people protesting at this rally were holding flags of their country of origin. There were Korean flags, Vietnamese flags and also India’s flag. One should not hold a nation’s flag in a personal, political protest rallies. This is highly condemnable.”
That did not stop many being outraged by the presence of India’s flag at the unseemly protest. Member of World Sikh Parliament, Swaranjit Khalsa condemned the act on Twitter. “I have repeatedly condemn foreign Govt. Interference in US Political System. Indian Flag was Raised During Attack on Capitol yesterday. @FBI must Investigate role of India in this intrusion.”
Netizen and writer, director, and ad filmmaker Ram Subramanian posed the following question on Twitter, “That’s an Indian flag supporting a protest aimed at dismantling American democracy. Any idea who these idiots are and why they feel the need to fly the Indian flag?”
Rajya Sabha member Priyanka Chaturvedi also criticized the presence of the Indian flag and tweeted, “Don’t use our tri-color to participate in such violent and criminal acts in another country.”
Stand-up comics like Vir Das took a dig at the flag bearer by tweeting, “Dear random Indian dude waving Indian flag at the #CapitolRiots. Every large crowd IS NOT A CRICKET MATCH!”
A spokesperson for the Indian Embassy in D.C. told American Kahani they had no comment at this time.
The chaos unfolded Wednesday afternoon as thousands of supporters of outgoing President Trump swarmed inside the building amid a session of Congress called to certify Joe Biden’s win, leading to accusations that the outgoing President was attempting to stage a coup.
The protesters ransacked offices, flipped tables, smashed windows and looted the building. Four people died during the violence.