A DBS Bank senior official has been in hot soup for a seemingly patriotic social media sharing.
The Indian born banker, who has lived for a decade in Singapore, probably wanted to express his love for India as the country was celebrating its independence day recently.
But things did not go down well.
Singaporeans remain angry at Avijit Das Patnaik who shared an image of a Singapore flag being ripped up to reveal an Indian flag underneath on Facebook, even after his employer DBS Singapore said that it has counselled him over the matter, reports The Independent Singapore.
A member of DBS Singapore’s Consumer Banking Operations Team, Patnaik posted the photo to 11,000 member-strong Facebook group ‘Singapore Indians & Expats’ on the occasion of India’s 72nd Independence Day on 15 Aug 2018, according to the entry on Aug 21.
In his post, Patnaik wrote “Phir bhi dil hai…” – a term which refers to the title of a 2000 Hindi movie, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, which translates into “Still my heart is Indian”.
The backlash against Patnaik was so severe, with the police getting involved as well since treating the Singapore flag with disrespect is an offence here, the news portal said.
Patnaik was forced to respond to the intense criticism.
When contacted by the Straits Times, Patnaik apologised and said that he did not mean to cause offence.
“I did not design the image and had already seen it being circulated widely… which is why I assumed it was okay for me to post the image,” he told the newspaper.
“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 added.
Despite Patnaik’s explanation, Singaporeans remained unappeased and the continuing uproar caused Patnaik to delete his social media accounts and his LinkedIn profile, according to The Independent Singapore.
Singapore police are investigating the Facebook post, said the Straits Times report which added that Patnaik has been living in Singapore for a decade.
The newspaper reported that the Singapore Arms and Flag and N ational Anthem Act states that no person shall treat the flag with disrespect. The penalty is a maximum fine of $1,000.