Man who posted graphic of ripped Singapore flag on Facebook no longer working for DBS Bank

In a Facebook post, DBS said that Mr Avijit Das Patnaik was "no longer with the bank" as of Aug 24.
In a Facebook post, DBS said that Mr Avijit Das Patnaik was "no longer with the bank" as of Aug 24.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The man who posted a graphic of a ripped Singapore flag on Facebook earlier this month is no longer working for his employer, DBS Bank.

The bank announced this in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug 28).

It said that Mr Avijit Das Patnaik was counselled for the controversial post, which showed a T-shirt with a graphic of a Singapore flag being torn, revealing an Indian flag underneath.

"DBS strongly disapproves of such actions by our employees," the bank said in the post. "At the same time, it is fair and right that all employees are given the benefit of due process."

The bank added that after the incident, a disciplinary committee was convened and, as of Aug 24, Mr Patnaik was "no longer with the bank".

When asked what role Mr Patnaik had at the bank and whether the bank had fired him, DBS said it had nothing more to add.

The image was believed to have first surfaced on Aug 14, a day before India's Independence Day, when Mr Patnaik shared it on the Singapore Indians and Expats Facebook page.

He posted it alongside a caption in Hindi that said, "Phir bhi dil hai…", which roughly translates to "Still my heart is…" and alludes to a popular Hindi song that talks about always feeling love for the motherland, India.

But he told The Straits Times that he did not design the image. He had first seen it posted on various individual accounts on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

 

Many netizens who saw the post found it offensive, with some complaining that the image was disrespectful to Singapore, as it showed the Singapore flag being ripped to shreds.

The image was later taken down.

After the incident, when The Straits Times contacted Mr Patnaik, who is a Singapore permanent resident, he apologised and said he did not mean to cause offence.

The Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem Act states that no person shall treat the flag with disrespect. The penalty is a maximum fine of $1,000.

The police are investigating the incident.