An Indian-origin employee of Singapore’s DBS Bank has lost his job after he posted on Facebook an image of the country’s torn flag to reveal the Indian flag underneath on the eve of India’s Independence Day.
Avijit Das Patnaik had on August 14 posted a picture on the Facebook page of the Singapore Indians & Expats group, showing the Singapore flag on a T-shirt being ripped up to reveal the Indian flag underneath. The group has 11,000 members, according to a Channel News Asia report.
Patnaik, who had been living in Singapore for a decade, had posted the image along with the caption—Phir Bhi dil hai (Still my heart is Indian) and alludes to a popular Bollywood song.
The post had caused outrage in the city-state, with many netizens terming it “offensive” and “insulting to Singapore”. The post has since been taken down.
Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank, in a comment to complaints on its Facebook page on August 19, had said that Patnaik had posted the image because he “wanted to show that even as he is in Singapore, he remains Indian at heart”.
“Upon realising the graphic was offensive, he took it down immediately,” DBS said, adding that it had counselled Patnaik.
On Tuesday, the Bank released a statement on its Facebook page, saying that Patnaik was no longer its employee.
“Since the incident, a disciplinary committee has been convened and as of August 24, he (Patnaik) is no longer with the bank,” the DBS Bank said in the post.
“DBS strongly disapproves of such actions by our employees. At the same time, it is fair and right that all employees are given the benefit of due process,” it said.
When asked about the circumstances surrounding Patnaik’s departure, including whether he resigned or was sacked, a DBS spokesman declined to elaborate, according to the report.
“We have nothing further to share beyond the post,” it said quoting the bank as saying.
According to the Singapore Arms and Flag National Anthem Act, any person that treats the flag with disrespect may be fined a maximum of 1,000 Singapore dollar.
Meanwhile, according to the Channel News Asia report, police have confirmed that a report has been made and investigations are underway.