Kerala

‘Peaceful protestors exercising our rights,’ says Kerala man who waved tricolour at U.S. Capitol storming

Vincent Xavier Palathingal taking part in the US Capitol protest.

Vincent Xavier Palathingal taking part in the US Capitol protest.

A video of someone waving the Indian tricolour amid the violent storming of the United State Capitol by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump two days back had led to much debate ever since.

Now, it has emerged that one of the persons waving the tricolour was Vincent Xavier Palathingal, a Kerala-native, hailing from Kochi.

Mr. Palathingal had put a detailed post on Facebook on Thursday, claiming that he was there to protest a “stolen election.” The post, in which he claimed that he was not part of the violence, has now been taken down following widespread criticism from people inside and outside Kerala against him for insulting the country by carrying the tricolour to a violent protest, in which five people have died so far.

“Trump rallies are always a lot of fun. And today was not an exception. About 50 or so lawless people who breached the U.S. Capitol perimeter by climbing the walls, breaking the windows and attacking police inside this sacred temple to American Democracy is not a reason to throw the million-plus peaceful protestors under the bus,” he had written in the deleted post.

"Thankful to President Trump"

Echoing Mr. Trump’s claims of electoral fraud , Mr. Palathingal wrote that he considered President Trump had afforded a tool to American patriots to start the cleaning up of the fraud prone system in many States.

“If he had conceded, that is the end of the discussion. Then the Democrat fraudsters will ensure that the U.S. will slowly move to a one party system by stealing every election in the future. He didn’t do that in spite of tremendous pressure. That’s why I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump,” he had written.

Mr. Palathingal also posted images of himself with the Indian national flag near the Capitol, along with other Trump supporters who laid siege to the Capitol .

“Some criminals had infiltrated our event and incited the violence. It was a peaceful protest by one million people. All Trump rallies are fun. I do not regret the decision to take the Indian flag to the protest. I am a very proud Indo-American, who had supported Trump. Violence is not part of us,” he told The Hindu . Mr. Palathingal has been settled in the U.S. since 1992 after graduating in Civil Engineering from the Government Engineering College, Thrissur.

A member of the State Central Committee of the Republican Party in Virginia, he said the Trump supporters were expecting the Congress to hold serious debate on the election fraud by making this unprecedented move at the Capitol. “We had expected about 12 hours of discussion, where all the proof on the rigged elections could have been presented. All that was thwarted because of the violence. After it, the Republican people did not support Trump as they feared losing their name,” he alleged. 

Mr. Palathingal recalled that he was a Democrat before and had voted for Barack Obama twice. “I became an active member of the Republican Party in 2014-15 after getting disappointed by his socialist policies, which were not good for the U.S.,” he said.

Criticism on social media

There was widespread criticism in social media following the post, with several comments against him, following which the post was taken down. Mr.Palathingal is an active commentator in social media on Kerala politics as well, with several posts criticising the LDF Government.

Earlier, after a video of a person waving the tricolour from the Capitol went viral, BJP MP Varun Gandhi tweeted, “Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don’t need to participate in”. Replying to this, Shashi Tharoor MP tweeted -“Unfortunately, @varungandhi80, there are some Indians with the same mentality as that Trumpist mob, who enjoy using the flag as a weapon rather than a badge of pride, & denounce all who disagree with them as anti-nationals & traitors. That flag there is a warning to all of us.”

Replying to both of them, Mr. Palathingal tweeted - “American patriots - Vietnamese, Indian, Korean & Iranian origins, & from so many other nations & races, who believe massive voter fraud has happened joined rally yesterday in solidarity with Trump. Peaceful protestors who were exercising our rights”.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 10:54:04 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/peaceful-protestors-exercising-our-rights-says-man-who-waved-tricolour-at-capitol-protest/article33529060.ece