Row of not standing for 'Thamizh Thai Vaazhthu': Complaint filed against RBI staff who spurred uproar!

A complaint has been filed with the Chennai police against the officials of the Reserve Bank of India's Chennai Unit for degrading the Tamil Nadu anthem 'Thamizh Thai Vaazhthu' as they were seen sticked to their chairs while it was played during the Republic Day celebrations at the premises on Wednesday -January 26. The event has spurred uproar as several leaders have been staunchly reprimanding the officials and the video of the heated argument at the RBI premises was doing rounds on social media. 

On Wednesday, RBI's Chennai unit has organized an event to celebrate Republic Day at the premises. The Zonal Head of the apex bank, SMN Swamy has hoisted the Indian flag and during the conclusion of the event, Thamizh Thai Vaazhthu was played and it was alleged that the RBI officials didn't stand up and pay respect to the state anthem. Their action has caught the attention of other participants and media people who began to slam them for disrespecting the law and the anthem. 

There was a heated exchange of words between the officials and other participants and the visuals were going viral. In the visual, reacting to the castigation of not standing for the state anthem, the RBI officials were heard saying that there was no specific law and notification instructing officials to stand up while playing the anthem. The people who condemned the officials demanded them to show the court order which says there is no need to stand for the Thamizh Thaai Vaazhthu. 

The officials had failed to justify their claim after which other staff of the bank had intervened and mitigated the argument. The media people who were invited to cover the programme had videographed the heated arguments between RBI officials and other people. When the visuals were widespread, several people had criticized the RBI staff for their conduct of violating the state law and quarrelling with the people who had voiced against them. The demands for an apology from the officials were rife.

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan said, "This video is distressing. We will look into and eliminate all confusion." DMK MP Kanimozhi has tweeted the Tamil Nadu Government's order mandating everyone to stand up when the state anthem was played and questioned how they can serve as officials of RBI when they can't understand a state government order. She asked, "Are they superior to the Tamil Nadu government?". 

CPI(M) MP from Madurai Su. Venkatesan said, "Is the RBI Chennai not in Tamil Nadu? The G.O. dated Dec 17, 2021, is applicable to all offices in Tamil Nadu. Take immediate action against those who refused to stand for Thamizh Thaai Vaazhthu in RBI's Republic Day event." Amid growing uproar, a complaint has now been filed against the RBI staff for insulting the state song. According to reports, Rajesh, a Madras High Court advocate, has moved his complaint online to the Chennai Police Commissioner seeking to initiate action against the officials. 

What does the law say?

On December 17, 2021, the Tamil Nadu government has passed on an order that mandated standing during the recital of Thamizh Thaai Vaazhthu. The order has come after a Madras High Court Judge had sparked controversy through his statement that there is no need to stand for the state anthem. As per the law, if Tamizh Thaai Vaazhthu was being played in the events conducted by the government and non-government organizations in Tamil Nadu, everyone must stand up as a mark of respect. 

It also says that the state anthem must be sung completely for 55 seconds and apart from the organizations, every educational institution must play the song during the gatherings and events. With the exception for physically-challenged people, everyone must stand up for the song. The order also says that the state anthem must be sung by everyone and not by any musical instruments. Condemning the act of RBI staff, renowned Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu has said, "Tamizh Thaai will forgive them. But, will the law forgive them?"