India arrests 12 for not standing during national anthem

Twelve people have been arrested in southern India for not standing while the national anthem was being played at an international film festival, police said Tuesday.

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The arrests follow a ruling by India’s Supreme Court last month that said the anthem must be played before every film screening in the country, accompanied by a visual of the national flag, and that audiences must stand. The court said the rule was aimed at instilling a sense of patriotism.

The 12 people were arrested in two separate incidents at the film festival, said Anil Kumar, inspector of police in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state. They were released on bail.

Volunteers at the International Film Festival of Kerala, being held in Thiruvananthapuram, complained to police that the 12 refused to stand despite repeated requests, Kumar said.

Kumar said six of the 12 had been assaulted after refusing to stand, but that no charges would be brought against the attackers.

“We are yet to receive a complaint over the assault. There is no investigation in (that) incident,” he told AFP by phone.

On Sunday, eight people were beaten by right-wing activists for not standing while the national anthem was being played at a cinema in the southern city of Chennai, according to police.

Police later registered cases against the eight for allegedly showing disrespect to the national anthem.

AFP

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