India, Dec 14 (NIA) – Indian police arrested 20 people within 48 hours starting Sunday, for failing to stand for the national anthem in cinemas, two weeks after a top court ruled it compulsory.
The Indian Supreme Court ruled on Nov 30 that cinemas should play the national anthem before every screening, and that the audience should stand.
“All the cinema halls in India shall play the national anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem,” the judges said adding that the anthem will be accompanied by an image of the Indian flag.
Police said 12 people were arrested on Monday at an international film festival in the southern state of Kerala for failing to carry out the order.
The AFP reported said that those arrested had refused to stand after being asked to do so by organisers and police. They were later released on bail.
Another eight people were arrested on Sunday at a cinema in the southern city of Chennai after being assaulted by a group of 20 men during the interval for allegedly refusing to stand, AFP said.
They were reportedly charged under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and face up to three years in jail if found guilty.
The Supreme Court judgement has caused a stir on Indian social media, with opinion on the judgement sharply divided.
Some people were of the opinion that the judgement was unnecessary while others said there was nothing wrong with it. Many, though, found humour in the situation.