As the controversy over Muslim girls wearing hijab in educational institutions snowballed into massive protests in Karnataka on Tuesday, 8 February, a video of a boy climbing a pole and hoisting a saffron flag at a government college in Karnataka's Shimoga was widely circulated.
Several people, including Congress' DK Shivakumar, claimed that the boy had removed national flag to hoist the saffron flag.
However, we found that the visuals don't support the claim. While it is true that the boy hoisted a saffron flag, it was done on an empty pole and not by removing the national flag.
Without sharing the visuals, Congress leader DK Shivakumar claimed that the national flag was replaced by a saffron flag. (An archived version can be seen here.)
"I think the affected institutions should be closed for a week to restore law and order," he wrote in a tweet.
Another user, Armaan, who describes himself as a Congress worker on Twitter, shared the visuals with the same claim.
WHERE DID THE INCIDENT HAPPEN?
The incident happened at the Government First Grade College, Bapuji Nagar in Karnataka's Shimoga.
As per reports, the flag was hoisted by a student who was among a group of saffron-clad protesters, demonstrating against the wearing of hijab.
WAS THE NATIONAL FLAG REMOVED?
We reached out to a journalist who covered the incident on Tuesday and they dismissed the claims and told us that there was no national flag when the saffron flag was being hoisted.
We spoke with Dhananjay BR, principal of the GFGC, who told us that the flag pole was empty on Tuesday morning and some people hoisted the saffron flag later.
"I had ensured that the national flag was removed from the flag post on evening of 26 January at about 5:40 pm and kept it safely," the principal said.
He also shared a photograph from Tuesday morning that showed that the flag pole was empty.
We then came across a byte of the Shimoga Superintendent of Police BM Laxmi Prasad on news agency ANI. Talking to the news agency, the Shimoga SP said:
"There was a report that the national flag was lowered and in place of that a saffron flag was put up but there was no national flag on the pole. Only a saffron flag was hoisted on top of the pole and later they removed it themselves."
We also came across tweets posted by journalists and members of the National Students' Union of India (NSUI) that showed that a national flag was again put on the pole where the saffron flag was hoisted on Tuesday.
The principal told us that this was done without his permission or knowledge and he informed the SP about the same, following which the national flag was lowered as per due protocol.
Evidently, the claims that a national flag was removed to hoist a saffron flag at a college in Karnataka's Shimoga were not true.