Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Indian Man Under Probe for Post Showing Torn Singapore Flag is No Longer with DBS

Singapore flag [Representational Image]

An Indian man, who came under police scanner for his Facebook post showing a torn Singapore flag revealing the Indian flag underneath, is no longer employed with the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS).

The bank has issued a statement online, communicating the updated status of its association with Avijit Das Patnaik.

Patnaik “is no longer with the bank,” DBS said in a statement on its Facebook page. The bank expressed its strong disapproval for such actions committed by its employees, but added that it supports giving the benefit of due process to them.

It also said that it has convened a disciplinary committee, and that Patnaik is no longer employed with the bank since Aug. 24.

Patnaik received flak after he posted a picture of a black T-shirt carrying a graphic of the Singaporean flag being ripped apart to reveal the Indian flag underneath on the occasion of the Indian Independence Day. Above the picture were written the words, “Phir bhi dil hai… I love you,” based on the Bollywood film titled, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. He posted this picture on Aug.14 in a Facebook group of Singapore Indians and expats at Facebook, and drew the wrath of social media users after the post went viral.

The anger was also directed at Patnaik’s employer, DBS, and internet users questioned the bank regarding its stand over the action of its employee.

DBS had then replied to a comment on Facebook, saying, “In celebrating India’s Independence Day, which takes place on 15 August, the employee wanted to show that even as he’s in Singapore, he remains Indian at heart. Upon realizing the graphic was offensive, he took it down immediately. DBS takes this very seriously and has counselled the employee who is deeply sorry for the distress caused.”

After the controversy erupted, Patnaik told the Straits Times that the controversial image was not designed by him, and that it was, in fact, already available on various social media platforms. He added that his intention was to show his love for India and that he never wanted to cause an offense to Singapore.

“I love Singapore deeply and am always singing praises about this country, so my intention was never to cause so much grievance. I just felt that the image represented that deep inside, the heart also beats for our motherland,” he was quoted as saying at that time.

Besides Singaporeans, the post received disapproval from many persons of Indian origin as well. Local media had then reported that Patnaik was facing police investigation for defacing the national flag of Singapore.