Navy cancels flag hoisting as St Jacinto islanders oppose, CM Sawant says ‘shameful, unfortunate’

Navy cancels flag hoisting as St Jacinto islanders oppose, CM Sawant says ‘shameful, unfortunate’

Locals clarified that they were not opposed to the unfurling of the flag and said that residents of the village would hoist the flag themselves.

The Indian Navy on Friday cancelled the unfurling of the National flag in St Jacinto Island of Goa after the islanders objected to the Navy’s plan to hoist the tricolour.

Issuing a statement, the Navy said: “As part of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' to commemorate 75 years of Independence, the Ministry of Defence has planned the unfurling of the National Flag in Islands across the nation between 13 and 15 Aug 21. A team from Goa Naval Area visited the islands of Goa including the Sao Jacinto Island as part of this pan-India initiative. However, the plan at Jacinto Island had to be cancelled as the same was objected to by the residents. This initiative is being done at a nationwide level to instil a sense of patriotism and celebrate the run-up to the 75th year of independence.”

On Friday morning, villagers of St Jacinto island led by state Nationalist Congress Party president Jose Phillip D’Souza, gathered in the church square on the island to protest against the flag hoisting ceremony planned by the naval authorities.

“Navy officers came here and they said that they will hoist the flag on August 15. I want to say that whether they are from the Navy, government or any private company, we do not give this right to anyone (to hoist a national flag). The villagers are united against this. If the Navy, state and central government try to capture our island, then local villagers will never allow this,” IANS quoted D'Souza as saying.

However, locals clarified that they were not opposed to the unfurling of the flag and said that residents of the village would hoist the flag themselves.

Reacting to the development on Saturday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that such “anti-India” activities will be dealt with with an iron fist and requested the Indian navy to go ahead with the plan.

“It is unfortunate and shameful that some individuals at St Jacinto Island have objected to the hoisting of the national flag by the Indian Navy on the occasion of India's independence day. I condemn this and want to state on record that my Government will not tolerate such acts,” Sawant said in a tweet.

“I have requested the Indian Navy to go ahead with their original plan and have assured full cooperation from Goa Police. These attempts of Anti-India activities shall be dealt with an iron fist. It will always be Nation First,” Sawant added.

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