Six persons including a woman have been taken into custody on Monday for not standing when the national anthem was played before the screening of a film at the ongoing International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram. The police action came after Bharatiya Yuva Morcha activists complained to the Director General of Police (DGP), Loknath Behra. The youth wing of the BJP had complained that media reports indicated that delegates at the IFFK were not standing when the national anthem was being played ahead of all screenings. The DGP had instructed the Assistant Commissioner of Police to inquire into the complaint.
The DGP had also asked the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (KSCA) for an explanation. Delegates will have to comply with the Supreme Court order that due respect should be shown when the national anthem is played, KSCA Secretary Mahesh B said in a statement. The reservation of those delegates who do not enter the theatre five minutes before the national anthem is played, will be cancelled, the statement said. The KSCA had earlier said it was seeking legal opinion on whether to seek an exemption from playing the national anthem before the screening of films at IFFK. The film fiesta which began on Friday will have 490 screenings in 13 theatres spread across the state capital.
Hearing the plea, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy observed that: “Only because certain foreigners are here and they may have some problems, should we recall our order? Why should we recall our orders only to oblige foreigners? If there are 40 movies running in different shows, you will have to, well, stand 40 times.”
On Sunday, three were allegedly roughed up for refusing to stand for the national anthem at a theater in Chennai. Police registered a case against seven people including a woman.