“I apologise,” said National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Saturday after drawing flak from several quarters for talking over phone during the national anthem at Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee’s swearing-in ceremony as the West Bengal Chief Minister.
“I didn’t intend to disrespect the nation by my actions, I was standing for the national anthem, but if it offended anyone, I am sorry,” Farooq told reporters. “Farooq has always kept his life for the nation. I have been attacked just because I stood with India and if these things are not visible to people what can I say?” he said.
“Obviously he was more interested in talking on the telephone than being attentive to national anthem. I almost question whether he was talking to separatists to figure out what their national anthem is because if you can disrespect Jana Gana Mana, it is most disrespectful to our great country as well,” BJP leader Shaina NC said. The BJP had dubbed the incident as unfortunate and asked Abdullah to tender an apology. It is the constitutional duty of every citizen, under Article 51A(a) of the Constitution, to respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.