New Delhi: The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) has asked the public sector Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to stop the use of the Red Cross emblem at its petrol pumps across the country.
It has asked the chairman of IOC to direct petrol pump owners not to use the emblem at the outlets.
The Geneva Conventions Act of 1960 makes unauthorised use of the Red Cross emblem or its imitation a punishable offence. The official said there is a fine of Rs500, besides forfeiture of the goods or vehicles on which the emblem has been used without authorisation.
When contacted, N Srikumar, general manager, corporate communications and branding, IOC, said, "We have received a communication from the Red Cross and are finding a way to switch over. We have taken this positively."
The letter, which was sent last month, also mentions that the chairperson should ensure the company's other medical establishments also do not use the Red Cross emblem, which is a protective symbol.
According to Lt Col Kishen Gulati, the honorary secretary of the Delhi branch of the IRCS, they are planning a massive campaign to create awareness about the emblem in Delhi.
"Many are not aware that the emblem is a protective symbol. To most people a red cross sign signifies medical services, which is wrong and unauthorised," Gulati said.
Doctors, paramedics, hospitals, pharmacy and even veterinary services have been found to be using the Red Cross symbol, he added.
"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 said.
The symbol is universally known and signifies a neutral sign for people who are caught in a conflict situation, he went on to say.