A committee constituted last June by the Kannada and Culture department of the Karnataka government to examine the feasibility of having a separate flag for the state has submitted its report, recommending an official three-coloured flag to replace an unofficial two-coloured one currently used to signify local pride.
Led by chairman of Kannada Development Authority G S Siddaramaya, the nine-member committee has recommended a flag with the yellow and red of the unofficial flag to be separated by white in the middle with the state symbol on it.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the issue will be put up for consideration by the state cabinet before it is forwarded to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for clearance.
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The recommendation for an official flag for the state has not, however, been well-received by a few leaders of pro-Kannada groups who have built an identity by working under the banner of the unofficial red and yellow flag.
“The colors recommended for the flag by the panel is not representative of the state. We will oppose this flag if the state government accepts the recommendation,’’ veteran pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj has stated.
If adopted with clearance from the MHA, Karnataka will be the second state after Jammu and Kashmir to have an official state flag.
Karnataka has had an unofficial state flag since the mid-1960s, when pro-Kannada groups, including Nagaraj’s, were agitating against screening of non-Kannada films in the state. The red-yellow flag was created by Kannada writer and activist Ma Ramamurthy for a pro-Kannada political party called the Kannada Paksha. This unofficial flag is flown every year on November 1, Karnataka’s foundation day, and is a common sight at public spaces in the state.