In a sea of American confederate flags and flags supporting US President Donald Trump at the Capitol Hill insurrection on 6 January, the presence of Israeli flags, Iranian monarchist flags and an Indian tricolour have evoked a great deal of curiosity.
Many found it counter-intuitive that flags of other nations would be preset at a highly charged gathering of American nationalists.
One of the Indian-origin Americans present at Capitol Hill on 6 January was Vincent Xavier Palathingal also known as Vinson Palathingal. He is a Republican party member who originally hails from Kochi in Kerala and now resides in Fairfax, Virginia.
He had contested elections for the school board at Fairfax.
Who is Vinson Palathingal?
According to his official website, Palathingal was born in Kumbalam in Kerala's Ernakulam district. He completed his schooling at St Thomas High School and Sacred Heart High School in Thevara. After his graduation, he worked as Project Engineer at Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organization in Kochi and another year as a Site Engineer at Ali-Al Sehebani Associates in Al-Hofuf, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The he moved to the United States after securing admission for a Master's in Civil Engineering at the University of Reno.
He went on to work with the Maryland State Highway Administration, Metro Washington Council of Governments and FannieMae. In 1998, Vinson started Amaram Technology, providing IT support to businesses and government bodies.
In 2014, he was also the Vice President of FOMAA, the largest Malayali-member organisation in the United States.
In 2015, Vinson also started a political think tank, the Indo-American Center.
What Are His Political Views?
Palathingal is a committed Republican and Trump supporter. He describes himself as a pro-business conservative.
On Indian politics, though he describes himself as "neutral" on social media, he has been extremely critical of the Left Front in Kerala.
"As a student in India, he was instrumental in organising against communist-believers who dominated college campuses through violent and terror tactics. He also witnessed how the minority and religious appeasement and pandering policies of socialist parties in India were a disaster, for majorities and minorities alike," his website says.
What Was He Doing at Capitol Hill?
Palathingal claims that he was protesting peacefully against what he calls was a fraudulent election.
"I think the violence robbed from us any chances of a serious objection and a rational discussion in the Congress," he wrote on his Facebook profile.
He says that he protested outside and didn't go inside the Capitol as "it was illegal".
On being part of the protests, despite being an ethnic minority, Palathingal says that they were there as "American patriots".
"American patriots – Vietnamese, Indian, Korean and Iranian origins, and from so many other nations and races – who believe massive voter fraud has happened joined the rally yesterday in solidarity with Trump. Peaceful protesters who were exercising our rights," he wrote on Twitter.