FIR Against B’luru Moviegoers for ‘Disrespecting’ National Anthem
Two weeks after a group of moviegoers was heckled at a popular movie hall in Bengaluru, the Subramanya Nagar police have booked the group under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
“We have registered the case suo moto. We don’t know how many people are involved. We will need to track them down. We have asked Orion mall to submit the CCTV report and details of who all had attended that particular show of the movie on 23 October,” police told The Quint.
Cops confirmed that the incident took place during a show of the Tamil movie Asuran but the video had been shot during the interval and not during the alleged disrespect at the time the anthem played. While the cops had filed a non-cognisable report soon after the video went viral, the FIR was registered this week.
Section 3 states that whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
In a video that has since been shared widely on social media, a Kannada actor along with his friends, was seen abusing moviegoers at a cinema hall in north Bengaluru’s Malleshwaram, allegedly for not standing up for the national anthem, on 23 October.
In the short video clip shared by Arun Gowda on his Facebook page, the actor along with others could be seen berating audience members for remaining seated while the anthem played.
It has also been shared widely on Twitter.
The video starts with a cry of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ after which someone can be heard requesting viewers to look at the faces of those who had the ‘audacity’ to not stand up for ‘52 seconds’ while the national anthem played before the movie. In response to being called ‘Pakistani terrorists’, one of the moviegoers says, “I am amazed to hear that the opposite of Indian is Pakistani.”
The video has been viewed nearly 6,000 times on Facebook after it was first uploaded on 24 October and has also been shared widely on Twitter. However, cops told The Quint that standing was optional while the national anthem played and that while they were aware of the video, no complaint has been filed with them.
‘Are you Pakistani Terrorists?’
While it is unclear who exactly is addressing the moviegoers targeted for remaining seated, a male voice can be heard saying:
“The audacity of standing on Indian soil. You are not able to spare 52 seconds for the country and you have the audacity to watch a three-hour movie? Are you Pakistani terrorists? Why the hell are you here? Get out of this place.”
The video continues to show another female friend of the actor asking a woman to ‘shut up’ repeatedly as they speak. The video ends with more cries of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.
The video has been shared on the actor’s Facebook page with the following caption in English: “guys when it’s INDIA yaavan aadru (if anyone) goes against INDIA then I wil be the first person to raise my voice.. share it till these guys get screwed to the core.. Jai Hind.. Jai Shree Ram.. ”
However, no FIR has been registered at the police station yet.
‘No Need to Stand up...to Be Perceived as Patriotic’
In a report from 2017, a year after the 2016 order to play the national anthem was passed, then chief justice Dipak Misra had said that it "cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for national anthem, then he is less patriotic".
The court also reportedly observed that people went to cinema halls for ‘undiluted entertainment.’
In January 2019, the Supreme Court modified its earlier order and said that playing the national anthem in cinema halls before screening films was no longer mandatory.
Simultaneously, the Home Ministry set up an inter-ministerial committee to give recommendations over regulating the playing national anthem in public and to suggest changes in the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971
Mixed Reactions on Social Media
(With inputs from NDTV)