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The Hindu wilfully misrepresents what Kishan Reddy said about #HarGharTiranga program to insert China, KTR furthers the propaganda

After the clarification from the office of Kishan Reddy, The Hindu has slyly changed its headline in the online version. The headline now reads – “Kishan Reddy brushes aside criticism on procurement of national flags”.

On August 1st, 2022, The Hindu published a report with a headline – “Kishan Reddy defends flag import”. The accompanying tagline attributed the quote ‘Country’s khadi industry cannot meet the demand for Har Ghar Tiranga scheme’. 

The Hindu article

As expected, Telangana CM KCR’s son, KTR, who holds multiple portfolios in the cabinet, picked up on this report and tweeted that the reality of Make in India was that our flags are being imported from China. 

KTR tweet

Now, nowhere in the report is China mentioned so people just figured out that this was one of those KTR’s half-baked tweets with loads of misinformation. This piqued my interest further though and I went through the video link of the press conference, only to realise the cunning and deadly game that The Hindu has played. 

The conversation between the Journalist (from The Hindu) and Minister Kishan Reddy happens from 37:45 to 38:42 in the video link. Am reproducing the conversation below for ease: 

Journalist: You amended the flag code. It is benefitting China only. 

Kishan Reddy (with a clear gesture indicating “No”): We only are stitching flags in our villages with self help groups. 

The journalist cuts short the minister and rephrases his question:

Journalist: Because of the import of polyester cloth, the khadi industry is getting affected severely. 

Kishan Reddy: We have given orders to all the Khadi industries. However, we cannot manufacture so many crores of flags with the Khadi that we have. That you have to understand. 

Journalist: You are planning from a year.

Kishan Reddy: No, we weren’t planning this from an year. This idea came recently.

Journalist: You did not have this thought before? 

Kishan Reddy: No, we didn’t. People like you gave this idea <smiles>.

We now revisit KTR’s tweet in its totality. The Hindu’s report, which severely misrepresents Kishan Reddy, does not mention China anywhere. It looks like KTR picked it from the journalist’s question and simply used it in his tweet to further his meaningless propaganda. KTR also tweeted that though the Modi government knew that the 75th year is in 2022, it couldn’t plan for flags for all homes. This argument is again directly from the playbook of the journalist who asked the same question, for which Kishan Reddy has given a clear-cut answer.

Whilst it is understandable that KTR is playing politics with even something like the #HarGharTiranga program, it is completely unfathomable as to why The Hindu would resort to such mischief. The journalist’s question was about the impact on the Khadi industry because of polyester, for which the minister had categorically stated that there is no impact because the industry is flooded with orders. At no place has he defended a “flag import”? He had, in fact, categorically denied any import from China (Note how only The Hindu cares about China!). He has only explained the need to amend the flag code for the usage of polyester in addition to Khadi. While the interaction is so clear-cut, how did The Hindu manage to think that in today’s day and age, they can get away with such wonton mischief that will aid the minister KTR in furthering his propaganda?

The original flag code says:  “The National Flag shall be made of hand-spun and hand-woven wool/cotton/silk khadi bunting”.

The revised flag code says: “The National Flag shall be made of hand-spun and hand-woven or machine-made, cotton, polyester, wool, silk khadi bunting”. 

The amendment was done on 30 December 2021 to include machine-made flags and also that polyester as a material can be used for making these flags. There are many huge flags that are flown across India, including one in Hyderabad. These hand-woven flags often get damaged because of the wind, and so they are very often changed. In fact, the TRS government spends huge amounts of money to maintain the huge flag that flies in Hyderabad. Using machine-made polyester material will help prevent these frequent damages. This is a common practice worldwide. The Modi government made a very logical amendment to our flag code, to enable longer-lasting huge flags. 

At no place in the revised flag code is the word “import” used. The English media woke up very late in the day and simply concluded that this change implies that machine-made polyester will only be imported. KTR’s own party tweeted that the flag code was amended because Ambani is the largest manufactured Polyester in India! Only KTR and his party can explain how can both Ambani and China get benefitted at the same time on the same issue!

The Hindu’s original report was published in the “South” section in the Hyderabad edition on August 1st, 2022. Kishan Reddy’s OSD sent a stinging clarification letter to The Hindu. That clarification was NOT published in the “South” section of the Hyderabad edition on August 4th, 2022. Instead, it was published only in the “Andhra Pradesh” section. 

The Hindu papers

After the clarification from the office of Kishan Reddy, The Hindu has slyly changed its headline in the online version. The headline now reads – “Kishan Reddy brushes aside criticism on procurement of national flags”. Remember how the original headline talks about imports of the flag? The Hindu’s report starts with “Even as a controversy rages”. The only controversy is this willful misrepresentation of the Q&A with Shri Kishan Reddy solely intended to mislead the reader.  

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S. Sudhir Kumar
S. Sudhir Kumar
Obsessive eater, Compulsive sleeper, Repulsive Writer

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