NEW DELHI – At least 12 people has been arrested recently for not standing while the national anthem was being played at cinemas, police said on last month.
This is because the Indian Supreme court has ordered cinemas all across the country to play the national anthem before the screenings so that the citizens can pay respect to their country. The court also ordered that the moviegoers should “stand up in respect” while the national anthem is played in cinema before screening.
“People should feel that they live in a nation and show respect to the national anthem and the national flag,” the court said.
Too much disrespect of national symbols had been indulged in the name of “individually perceived notions of freedom”, it added.
The 12 people, that were arrested in two different incidents at the film festival said Anil Kumar, inspector of police in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state. They were then released on bail.
Mr. Kumar said that six out of 12 had been attacked by the other people for refusing to stand in the national anthem, but there are no charges against the attackers.
Before this incident, 8 people were arrested in a cinema in Chennai after being attacked by a group of men during the movie interval, for allegedly refusing to stand. They were reportedly charged under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and face up to three years in jail if found guilty.
Before this rule was passed by the Supreme court, the national anthem was compulsory only in Maharashtra, India.
There are mixed reactions all over the country where conservatives thinks that this law would preserve respect for the country and its flag since there were reported a couple of violations against the national anthem being playing in movies.
There are other people who thinks that this rule was completely unnecessary and inappropriate in the cinemas. Many people also stated that is an attack to the individuality and the free will.
It’s not just India where standing on a national anthem is seen as an act of respect and patriotism but many countries all around the world. In the US, American football player Colin Kaepernick said that he received death threats by the people for refusing to stand on national anthem, as an act of protest against the police brutality to black people.
Is this really patriotism or state enforced nationalism?