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DBS employee probed over Facebook illustration of torn Singapore flag fired

Following police investigations regarding the case of an employee of the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) who had posted a picture on Facebook featuring a depiction of the Singapore flag being torn, DBS has announced that the employee in question is no longer working with the bank.

DBS has clarified today (28 Aug) via Facebook that Mr Avijit Das Patnaik, a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) and an Indian national, is "no longer with the bank" as of last Friday (24 Aug).

On the eve of India's 72nd Independence Day which fell on 15 Aug, Mr Patnaik had posted an image of a black T-shirt with an illustration depicting the Singapore flag being ripped apart to reveal an Indian flag underneath in a Facebook group called "Singapore Indians and Expats", which has 11,000 members.

The Hindi words "Phir bhi dil hai…", which roughly translates to "Still my heart is…", were included in Mr Patnaik's post on 14 Aug.

Mr Patnaik has since defended himself by stating that he did not create the image, and that he only shared it, especially considering the fact that it was a widely circulated image, adding that he did not mean to offend Singaporeans as he loves Singapore "deeply" and is "always singing praises about" Singapore.

Netizens have applauded DBS's move after the outrage caused by the post.

Zulkifli Mamat wrote:

Good call, DBS, since he is unable to respect the host country with that shredding of our flag with his birth country in the background. Be respectful to the host country you're living in, regards if your employment is in the US, Malaysia, or wherever your job is.

Johnny Lam commented:

Good job, DBS... That's accountability... A lesson one must learn: Freedom of speech is not freedom from speech, that's responsibility one must afford to uphold in your own actions...

William Choo said:

Better late than never, DBS! I trust that Avijit Das Patnaik does NOT pop up in any DBS entity outside Singapore after he has cleared his leave in SG. That would be keeping to the spirit of DBS being a regional bank headquartered and listed in SG.

Jai Kali Singh commented:

Nice to hear that. We are not wicked, but serves him right.

Sam Tan Boon Leng wrote:

Haiz... Our nation is nothing to them as compare to their own country.

Paul Lim said:

He can go back to the place in his heart. That's a double win for both him and Singaporeans. Good end!

Darren Tay commented:

I believe there is other ways to show love for own country other than tearing other country flag...

However, some netizens remain sceptical as to whether any significant action was really taken against Mr Patnaik.

Nathaniel Ng said:

Lip service. Who can be sure that the staff is no longer in your company afterall you all are fellow countrymen.

May Summaki wrote:

No worries, his crony buddies at SCB, ANZ and Citi will find him a job there.

Stevie Lim commented:

Many of them still in DBS.