The Red Cross Society of India (IRCS) wants its symbol back.It has notified public sector Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) by way of letter that it disapproves of the company using its red-colored cross symbol at pump outlets and other services of the company.
"We have written to the chairman of Indian Oil telling him to direct petrol pump owners not to use the emblem from the outlets," says a spokesman for the IRCS.
The Geneva Conventions Act of 1960 makes unauthorized use of the Red Cross emblem or its imitation a punishable offence warranting a fine of Rs 500, besides forfeiture of the goods or vehicles on which the emblem has been used without authorization.
N Srikumar, Indian Oil General Manager, Corporate Communications and Branding, says that the company has taken the warning in a positive sense and that they are "finding a way to switch over."
Lt Col Kishen Gulati, the honorary secretary of the Delhi branch of the IRCS and the man behind the changes at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and Moolchand flyovers, from the red cross signs to a bold 'H', signifying hospitals, says that doctors, paramedics, hospitals, pharmacy and even veterinary services have been found to be using the red cross symbol.
"People use it because there is no awareness. We don't think that it is mischievous. It is true that most people find it easy to relate to the sign and they feel putting the symbol is the best way to get the message across", he adds.
Yet, he emphasizes it is important that the sign is not misused because in conflict areas, terrorists could use a vehicle with the red cross sign, to smuggle arms and ammunition.