Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
On October 23, four people were hounded for not standing up when the national anthem was played at PVR Orion Mall, Bengaluru, during the screening of the Tamil movie Asuran. In the video that was initially shared by Kannada actress BV Aishwarya and later widely shared on social media, a group of people can be seen berating the four in a theatre which is nearly empty.
“Not able to spare 52 seconds for the country, but you have the audacity to sit here and watch a three-hour movie? Are you Pakistani terrorists?” a man can be heard saying. One of the women on the receiving end can be heard saying, “I am amazed to hear that the opposite of Indian is Pakistani.”
Today's Millennials can't. stand for National Anthem …. These are same people who make Kunal Kamra & Dhruv Tatti famous !!
Commie & LW mentality … Always against the country
— Srikanth (@srikanthbjp_) October 25, 2019
Among the harassers is Sandalwood actor Arun Gowda. He and some other moviegoers can be seen in the video trying to shame the four people – two women and two men – for not standing up during the national anthem.
“When the national anthem came on, these guys didn’t stand. Look at these guys. Just look at their faces once again. They are telling us to file a complaint,” Gowda can be saying to the camera. He continues to shoot the video where his friends can be seen yelling at the four.
“Our soldiers are fighting for us in Kashmir and you guys are sitting here and don’t even stand for the national anthem. Get out of this place,” a friend of Arun can be heard yelling.
The four people were eventually sent out of the theatre.
Arun later posted a video on Facebook with the caption: “Namaskara yellarigu… hello everyone….. regarding the National Anthem issue this is what I want to say.. “no one manhandled anyone there “and a video of them going out peacefully has been sent to all news channels as it’s not allowed to update on FB…n ok if they don’t standup for our anthem according to SC order but when they spoke bad about our India Army not me no one will spare them… Jai Hind”.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time someone was harassed for not standing up for the national anthem. In May 2019, a moviegoer at Inox in Garuda Mall, Bengaluru, allegedly harassed a sound engineer for not standing up during the national anthem. In the theatre that was screening Avengers: Endgame, the engineer was threatened with dire consequences.
The Apex court in November 2016 made it mandatory for all cinema halls to play the national anthem before the movie screening. It mandated that everyone present in the hall will have to stand up when the anthem is played, as this practise would “instil a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.”
However, in January 2018, a two-judge bench headed by former Chief Justice Deepak Misra overturned this order. Misra said that whether or not to play the national anthem was the cinema halls’ choice. If it is played, however, people could stand up to show respect.
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