Guwahati (Assam) : A wheelchair-bound man, who was allegedly abused and termed as a ‘Pakistani’ by two men at a multiplex for not standing up during the national anthem, said he will be taking up the matter seriously and will pen down a letter to Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
The victim, identified as Arman Ali, is the executive director of Sishu Sarthi, an NGO working for the empowerment of differently-abled people. While he was at a movie screening in multiplex here on Friday, he was allegedly called a ‘Pakistani’ for not standing up during the national anthem.
Describing the unfortunate incident, Arman said the behavior of the two men in their late 40s has left a question mark in his mind, adding that he would certainly take up the matter in the Supreme Court (SC).
“The SC came up with this order with the hope of inculcating patriotism. However, it is being misused and it is high time we look into it. We all know what to do when the anthem is played and we don’t need pseudo-nationalism. I am doubtful if they were even aware of the fact that I am Muslim, or else repercussions would have been far more. With the ongoing mob-mentality, I couldn’t raise my voice then. But I will take this up, and write to the CJI, as a citizen of India,” he told ANI.
Dismissing the need to display one’s patriotism in a cinema hall, Arman opined that the national anthem is not something that needs to be sung just for the heck of it, adding that of all places, nobody needs to prove their nationalism in a movie hall, irrespective of their caste, creed or disability, if any.
“In our organisation, we start our day by singing the national anthem. Is this practice followed in the high courts, parliament or government offices? The way those two men were smirking is as though they had done their national duty,” he stated.
On 30 November, 2016, the apex court had passed an order making it compulsory for all movie theatres to play the national anthem before each screening for what it called ‘the love of the motherland’.
However, in February this year, the Supreme Court clarified that people are not obliged to stand up when the national anthem is played as and in part of a film or documentary.
The verdict also says that people don’t need to sing the national anthem when it is being played before the screening of a film.