Vincent Xavier, Kochi man who carried Tricolour to US Capitol protest
New Delhi, Jan 09: When the world was watching the clash on Wednesday between a mob of US President Donald Trump's supporters and law-enforcement authorities at the Capitol building, a lone Indian flag has been seen sticking out in a sea of pro-Trump banners in the rally.
The image of the tricolour at Capitol Hill seeded sparring between Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi on Twitter, with numbers of users sharing and reacting to the exchange.
The flag-bearer was 54-year-old Virginia-based entrepreneur Vincent Xavier Palanthigal, who moved to the US from Kochi in Kerala in 1992 and is a member of the Virginia Republican Party's State Central Committee.
"There is nothing to be ashamed of, we are celebrating our diversity. The world has to know that America is not the racist country it is portrayed as. That the Republican party is not white supremacist. If they were racist, they would not allow me to carry the Indian flag. It was actually showing more respect," Xavier told to NDTV.
"It was because of my patriotic fervour and love that I took the Indian flag. Not to defame it or give it a bad name," he told to Indian Express.
"Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don't need to participate in," BJP MP Varun Gandhi tweeted.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, too, condemned the bearer of the flag. "Whoever is waving this Indian flag should feel ashamed. Don't use our tricolour to participate in such violent & criminal acts in another country," she wrote.
In the bitter back-and-forth that started with Mr Tharoor criticising the Indian tricolour being waved at what rapidly became one of the lowest moments in American democracy, Gandhi flagged a photo of the Congress leader with Vincent Xavier, posted online by users.
Xavier said he had met with Mr Tharoor in 2015 and had interviewed him over lunch in Washington.
Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed at Delhi's Kalkaji Police Station against Vincent Xavier.