In what could be the first happening after the controversial rule which was recently mandated by the Supreme Court of India, 7 people were booked for reportedly “disrespecting the national anthem” in a cinema hall at Chennai the police informed on Monday.
The seven people including a woman were taking selfies inside Kasi Theater in Chennai this Sunday, while the national anthem was on the play. This led to an altercation with another group also present there.
Police invoked provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 against the accused.
The Supreme Court last month ordered all cinemas to play the national anthem before the screening of any movie and making it compulsory for all. Many people see this move will encourage right-wing Hindu groups in pushing a harsh brand of nationalism.
The police took action based on a complaint filed by a person named Vijayakumar, who is a also a part of the group which threatened those seven people for not standing up when the national anthem Jana Gana Mana was being played.
Leenus Roffun, one of the accused said :
“…They started verbally abusing us, which we tried to ignore. They then came up to us during the interval and began hitting us when we said it was our right to not stand for the anthem should we choose not to.”
The accused woman, identified as M Shreela, even lodged a counter-complaint against Vijayakumar and his group, in which she accused them of abusing and threatening her.
According to the police, a patrol team saw two groups of movie-goers fighting outside the cinema. They were held for questioning after which the seven were booked.