Published: 08th November 2019
Bengaluru family booked for not standing during Jana Gana Mana. But they are not alone
Though no names have been included in the FIR, the cops have registered a suo moto case based on the video that went viral two weeks ago. It remains to be seen what will happen to the students
Not standing up for the National Anthem in a cinema hall and getting beaten up is becoming increasingly frequent across India. One such incident happened two weeks ago in Bengaluru after a video of some people abusing a family for not standing up when national anthem was played went viral. As a result, the Subramanyanagar police have taken up a suo motu case against the latter. No names have been mentioned in the FIR.
Some members of the audience, including a Kannada actor and his female friend, had created a ruckus on seeing the family members seated while the national anthem played at PVR Orion Mall on October 23. The video showed some in the audience shouting abuses and arguing with the students, finally forcing the students to leave without watching the movie. The people hurled abuses at the group and called them terrorists and anti-nationals.
A police officer familiar with the case, said, “We will verify the facts before taking any action against the accused. Based on news reports in the media, we have filed a case on Monday for disrespect towards the National Anthem and the accused have been charged under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.”
He further added, “We have to verify whether the students stood up or not. The video shows arguments between the two groups, but not while the anthem was playing. We have asked the staff of PVR to share CCTV footage so that we can come to a conclusion on what exactly happened there.”
Should show respect to national anthem by standing, SC had said
According to the Supreme Court, it is optional for cinema halls to play the national anthem before every show. A bench led by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra clarified that it was not mandatory to play the anthem before screenings in cinemas and the discretion was left to cinema hall owners. However, if the anthem is played, the audience in the hall are bound to show respect by standing up, the court said, and added that exception is granted to disabled persons.
Similar incidents across India
In 2014, a group of five people had beaten up 31-year-old Mahek Vyas when he defended his friend from Africa, Nicole Sobotker, for not standing up when the National Anthem was played. In December 2016, ten friends who had come to attend the 11.30 am show at Kasi Theatre in Ekattuthangal in Chennai did not stand up when National Anthem was played. While there was no disturbance during the first half of the show, a few men approached these ten friends during the interval. They were abused and assaulted one of the member in the group
In November 2017, Syed Safeer Hussain and Mohammed Ilyas had allegedly refused to stand up in similar circumstances and were arrested by the police.
In November 2019, six people were arrested for not standing up for the National Anthem when it was played at the International Film Festival of Kerala.
In May 2019, Ashoknagar police arrested 29-year-old Jithin for not standing up when the National Anthem was played at a movie in Bengaluru's Garuda Mall. Based on a complaint by another movie-goer, a case was registered against Jithin. While the National Anthem was being played, Jithin remained seated. The complainant asked Jithin why he was not standing. This irked the latter and he started abusing Kumar and some other women present in the hall. He allegedly used a defamatory word in reference to the National Anthem.