FIR lodged against moviegoers for sitting during national anthem

Team Udayavani, Nov 8, 2019, 2:06 PM IST

Bengaluru: The city police have registered an FIR against a group of moviegoers who were allegedly sitting down during the national anthem at a movie theatre in Bengaluru. The group of unknown persons were charged under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

“We don’t know who they are but we have registered an FIR and we are asking PVR to hand over CCTV footage to identify these people. We have also asked for contact numbers of the accused persons,” Sadananda M, police inspector at Subramanyanagar police station was quoted speaking to TNM.

It may be recalled that a video of actor Arun Gowda and his friends trying to shame four people at a movie theatre in Bengaluru for allegedly not standing up during the national anthem has gone viral on the social media platform.

The incident occurred on October 23 at PVR Orion Mall during the screening of the Tamil movie Asuran.

In the video, being shared widely on social media, Arun Gowda and his friends can be heard saying, “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?”

“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,” another voice can be heard saying. They also break into chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ in the middle.

It may be recalled that in May this year, a 29-year-old man from Bengaluru was arrested after he refused to stand up while the national anthem was playing.

In November 2016, the Supreme Court made it mandatory for all movie theatres to play the national anthem before screenings. This decision was criticised by a number of constitutional experts and was overturned by a three-judge bench headed by former Chief Justice Deepak Misra on January 5, 2018. It was voluntary for theatres to play the anthem, the court said, and if they did play then the audience could stand up to show respect.

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