Did Congress bring back the Cross in the Navy Flag that Vajpayee removed ?

Claim

The St.George Cross that Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee removed in 2001 has been brought back by Congress in 2004. Indian National Slave cannot get rid of the colonial mindset.

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Explanation

On 2nd September 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and also unveiled the new Naval Ensign. The cross from the old design is dropped in the new Naval Ensign.

After the unveil, several users in the Social Media, including BJP members and persons who lean towards the right wing, started trending a picture depicting various Naval Ensign designs that India have had in the past, with a claim that Congress had put back the cross in 2004 which was previously removed during Vajpayee’s regime in 2001. This is being shared, tweeted and retweeted by right wing supporters.

What’s the truth ?

From 26th January 1950 to 2001, India had been using the British India’s old Naval Flag by adding India’s tricolor to it. In 2001, Atal Bihari Vajpayee led BJP Government had changed it and removed the St. George Cross which had been in use from British India’s time, in the flag.

However, due to the recommendations from several Naval officers, the St. George Cross was put back to the Naval Ensign in 2004 because the blue logo in the updated flag of 2001 was indistinguishable from the sea and the sky. This is widely covered in several news media sites including India Today. But, the articles neither mention whether it was done by Congress Government, nor what month it was changed. Incidentally, Congress led UPA Government came back to power in 2004. Using this fact, several BJP supporters and right wingers are spreading the image claiming that it was the Congress Government that put the St. George’s red cross back in the Naval Ensign.

In our extensive search, we were able to find a Rediff Article titled “Indian Navy to change its ensign” from 24th Apr 2004 which mentions that from the 25th of that month, Indian Navy would have a changed ensign, bringing the cross back.

A Gazette from April 2004 further confirms the news article from Reddit that from 25th April 2004, Indian Navy would have a new ensign. The design is described in the Gazette notification as follows, “An Ensign of white colour with a horizontal red stripe and vertical red stripe intersecting at the center of the Ensign, a golden yellow State Emblem superimposed on the intersection, and the National Flag in the upper canton next to the staff. The White Ensign shall be displayed in the manner prescribed in Regulation 70”.

It is important to note that Congress led UPA-I alliance formed the Government on May 22 after 4 rounds of election in 2004. The Ensign was changed while BJP led NDA Government was in power, taking into consideration of the opinions of Naval Officers. George Fernandes was the Defense Minister at the time when the cross was put back on the Naval Ensign.

The Naval Ensign was again changed in 2014 and in the updated version of 2014 which was in use till the recent change on 2nd September 2022, the words “Satyamev Jayate” in Devanagari, was added below the state emblem in 2014.

Conclusion

In our fact-check, we find that the St. George Cross which was removed by Vajpayee Government in 2001 was again put back by the same Government in 24th April 2004 after consultations with Naval Officers. The widely spread claim that Congress Government put back the Cross in the Naval Ensign which Vajpayee removed is completely false.

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Ramasamy Jayaprakash

Ramasamy works as a Senior Sub-Editor at YouTurn and writes articles in Tamil and English. He also makes videos for YouTurn's Tamil & English YouTube channels.
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