Parties swoop in on flag heroes

Jun 24, 2012, 09:06 IST | Varun Singh

Septet that saved the tricolour atop Mantralaya from burning are the flavour of the moment for political parties who want to cash in on their heroism

The team of seven who fought to save the national flag atop Mantralaya while the building burned on Thursday even as others rushed out (‘They braved the flames to protect the flag’, June 22, 2012), have suddenly become poster boys that political parties want to cash in on.

The group of seven at the felicitation by the BJP. Pic/ Shadab Khan

The employees of Mantralaya (Rajendra Kanhade, Deepak Adsul, Ganesh Munj, Premji Rot, Suresh Baria, Vishal Rane and Prasad Kendre — who was arranging for permission from the Chief Minister’s office for the premature removal of the flag at 4.30 pm) may not consider their actions heroic, but politicians certainly do. The Shiv Sena already announced via its mouthpiece, Saamna, that it will felicitate the men who saved the national flag. The BJP went a step ahead and felicitated them on Saturday afternoon.

The septet, which is responsible for hoisting the flag at 6.05 am and bringing it down at sunset, is now being flooded with calls from various people and organisations asking them to attend functions where they can be felicitated. But they say they’re disappointed that their own department and government haven’t yet bothered to even check up on them even once after the incident.

Rajendra Kanhade, the head of the group, said, “We did nothing extraordinary. It was just our job. We are happy and overwhelmed that people now want to felicitate us. The BJP called us, the Sena has made their stand official, and many others have approached us.”

He adds, however, “Our own government didn’t call us, neither did our department bother to check on us. We do not expect anyone to do anything, but it does bother us at times.”

Kanhade also says their group wants the fire brigade officer who saved them to be felicitated. “Had he not been there, all our work would have gone to waste,” he feels. 

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