Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday expressed regret over cutting a cake with the colours of the national flag on it, at a function at the Raj Bhavan here on Republic Day. He said there was no intention to disrespect or dishonour the flag.

The Chief Minister’s official statement came in the wake of reactions by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and various other quarters, accusing Mr. Gogoi and Governor J.B. Patnaik of disrespecting the flag. Mr. Gogoi, however, denied the charges.

The AGP dashed off memoranda to the President, the Chief Justice of India, the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman, demanding punishment for Mr. Gogoi and Mr. Patnaik.

AGP spokesman Atul Bora told The Hindu that along with the memoranda, photographs showing Mr. Gogoi and the Governor cutting the cake, and various government officials and guests eating it had also been annexed.

The party alleged that both had committed a serious crime as the flag represents India and its sovereignty.

Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to the National Honour Act, 1971 says: “Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

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