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Accused fashion designer, Malini Ramani
"I was just trying to be patriotic"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 August, 2000, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Flag dress causes a flap
Shiv Sena activists protesting against India Fashion Week
Hindu groups have been protesting against the Fashion Week
By Geeta Pandey in Delhi

A dress made out of the Indian national flag has set off a political and legal debate in the country, and led to police action against the designer.

The strappy knee-length dress was one of the designs displayed at the India Fashion Week, which ended on Wednesday.

The designer, Malini Ramani, used horizontal strips of orange, white and green and a blue wheel (Ashok Chakra), resembling the pattern of the Indian flag.

Malini Ramini in her Indian flag dress
The dress that caused the controversy
A strict code governs the use and display of the national flag and the Delhi police filed a case of dishonouring the national flag against Ms Ramini.

The controversial dress was also seized.

Ms Ramani said she was very upset by the charge that she had been disrespectful to the flag.

She said it was not her intention to hurt anyone's sentiments.

But her critics say the dress is in clear violation of the flag code and amounts to the misuse of a national symbol.

Flag code

A strict flag code announced in the year 1950 regulates the use and display of the national flag.

It bars the use of the flag in advertisements or for any other commercial activity.

In fact, even private citizens are not allowed to fly the flag over their homes, offices or factories except on certain designated days like the Republic Day or the Independence Day.

Some constitutional lawyers say these restrictions need to be revised and that people should be allowed to use the national symbols as long as they treat them with respect.

This flag code has also been challenged in court and the Indian government says that it is working to free the use of national symbols, including the national flag, by people.

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18 Aug 00 | South Asia
Fashion week in India
13 May 00 | South Asia
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