HYDERABAD: With both supporters and opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) carrying the Tricolour during their rallies, suppliers of the National Flag have for the first time run out of stock ahead of Republic Day.

The anti-CAA rally on January 4, which saw thousands taking to the streets in Hyderabad, shrunk the stock further. Retailers sold an estimated 3.5 lakh national flags for the rally, among the biggest non-violent gatherings for a cause in Hyderabad in six decades. In fact, flag sellers have sought fresh stocks from manufacturers, who are working overtime to meet the huge demand.

Suppliers say Hyderabad is likely to see a further spurt in the demand in next two days as Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM has proposed a mega rally from Mir Alam Idgah to Shastripuram in the city outskirts on January 10. Owaisi, who announced that he would hoist the National Flag at Charminar on the Republic Day, has ordered a 10 feet by 30 feet Tricolour.

“Generally, demand for the National Flag goes up before Republic Day and Independence Day. But the last fortnight has seen huge demand across the country. Retailers in Delhi are calling us to enquire if we can arrange fresh supplies,” said flag bulk manufacturer Mahendar Reddy of Vidy Arts Flags at Nagole in the city.

Shaik Osman of SK Group, a bulk manufacturer at Mailardevpally, told TOI that the flag market in Osmangunj had virtually run out of stock. Retailers have now placed orders to meet the demand for Republic Day. “We have hired extra workers to stitch flags. On January 3 and 4, retailers had jacked up prices. A 20×30 inch flag, normally sold for Rs 15, was sold for Rs 30 while 30×45 inch flag was sold for Rs 50 as against Rs 30 on other days,” he said. Osman is making the huge flag for Owaisi.

M Chanda, who runs ARC Flag shop, said an estimated 10 lakh flags have been sold in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh since the CAA protests began three weeks ago. “We have never seen such demand for the Tricolour during the period considered as off-season. There is a demand from small towns too. We have ordered for more flags to meet the requirement,” he said.

Tehreek Muslim Shabban leader Mushtaq Malik, who organised the January 4 rally, said they had bought small flags for even Rs 100 while they are sold for Rs 20 during normal days. “The city has never witnessed such a large number of people carrying the tricolour during a protest for a cause,” he added.

(Courtesy Times of india)