Chennai

Seven movie-goers booked in Chennai for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem

Cinema halls should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played, SC said. A scene at Maratha Mandir theatre, Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: Rajneesh Londhe

The Chennai police on Sunday registered a case against seven persons, including a woman, for disrespecting the national anthem at a cinema in the city.

The case is the first such since the Supreme Court made it mandatory for all cinema halls to play the national anthem at the beginning of film shows and for people to stand up in respect.

The seven persons allegedly took selfies inside Kasi Theatre near Ashok Nagar when the national anthem was being played, leading to a fracas with another group of cinema-goers who objected.

Complaint filed

The police invoked provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, against the accused. The action was based on a complaint filed by one Vijayakumar, a resident of Nesapakkam. The police action came after a patrol team saw two groups of cinema goers fighting outside the theatre. One of the men said he had come with six others to watch the film Chennai 28 -II and alleged that they were manhandled by a group and threatened with dire consequences for not standing up when the national anthem was being played.

The police later took members of both groups to the Ashok Nagar Police Station for an inquiry.

An officer said Vijayakumar, a member of the audience, had questioned the persons taking selfies when the national anthem was being played. This led to a heated exchange ending in fisticuffs,

Taking on board Vijayakumar’s complaint, the police registered cases under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and the Indian Penal Code against seven persons, including M. Shreela, a resident of Virugambakkam. She had given a separate complaint, accusing Mr. Vijayakumar and his friends of having threatened and abused her for not standing up during the national anthem.

The police later took members of both groups to the Ashok Nagar Police Station for an inquiry.

An officer said that during inquiry, it was found that seven persons were taking ‘selfies’ when the national anthem was played. Vijayakumar, a member of audience questioned their behaviour and this led to heated exchanged of words between them and eventually led to a fracas.

Taking on board Vijayakumar’s complaint, the police registered cases under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and the Indian Penal Code against seven persons including M. Shreela, a resident of Virugambakkam.

 She had given a separate complaint accusing Vijayakumar and his friends of having threatened and abused her. Ms. Shreela said she along with her friends had gone to watch the morning show of ‘Chennai 600028 II’ when they were ‘assaulted’ by a group for young men for not standing up during the national anthem. 

The Supreme Court in its order on November 30 had directed all cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before the screening of films and that all present must ‘stand up in respect’ till the anthem ended. Modifying its order, the court last week exempted physically disabled persons from the mandate. 

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 7:08:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Seven-movie-goers-booked-in-Chennai-for-%E2%80%98disrespecting%E2%80%99-national-anthem/article16795076.ece

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