A video showing Kannada actors Arun Gowda, BV Aishwarya and few others castigating a family for not standing up for the national anthem in a cinema hall in Bengaluru has been shared widely on social media. The incident occurred on October 23 at PVR Orion Mall in the city during the screening of the Tamil movie Asuran, The News Minute reported on Monday.
The video was also shared by Aishwarya on her Facebook page with the caption: “So called citizens of India refused to stand while the national anthem was played [and] we are here as the true citizens to set these anti-Indians right. Don’t you dare”. However, the post was deleted later.
“Not able to spare 52 seconds for the country, but you have the audacity to sit here and watch a three-hour movie,” an unidentified man told the family members. “Are you Pakistani terrorists?”
The video shows Arun Gowda pointing at the family and saying: “When the nation anthem came on, these guys didn’t stand. Look at these guys. Just look at their faces once again. They are telling us to file a complaint”.
Meanwhile, Aishwarya told the family to get out of the cinema hall if they cannot stand up. “Our soldiers are fighting for us in Kashmir and you guys are sitting here and don’t even stand for the national anthem,” another of Gowda’s friends said. “Get out of this place”.
On Tuesday, in a video message on Facebook, Gowda said he did not manhandle anyone. “[It’s] ok if they don’t stand up for our anthem according to SC order, but when they spoke bad about our India Army not me no one will spare them,” he wrote in the post.
He justified his actions in the theatre. “How can they not care about the Army,” he told The News Minute. “We demanded that the four people must be removed from the theatre. They were eventually sent out.”
In May, police arrested a 29-year-old sound engineer in Bengaluru for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem. He was also threatened with dire consequences by a man sitting next to him for not standing up during the national anthem.
In January 2018, the Supreme Court had modified its November 30, 2016 interim order and made it optional for cinema halls to play the 52-second national anthem before every show. “People do not need to stand up at a cinema hall to be perceived as patriotic,” the court had added.
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