In October last year, Preity Zinta had earned the ire of Twitterati when she threw out a boy from a theatre for not standing up for the National Anthem.
In September that year, a man in Kerala was charged with sedition for not standing up when the National Anthem was being played.
Today, not standing up for the National Anthem became a harrowing experience for a family as they were forced to leave a theatre by almost the entire audience.
Like in previous cases, Twitterati criticised the ‘vigilantism’ shown by the crowd and called it a display of ‘intolerance’.
Indian Cinema Halls Today: Cat-calls, lewd comments, talking loudly on mobile: CHALTA HAI. Not standing for National Anthem: SPARTAAAAAA!
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) November 30, 2015
Unfortunate that the Muslim couple was forced to leave PVR for disrespecting National Anthem. Who polarised us so much? I think Media did. — हम भारत के लोग (@India_Policy) November 30, 2015
I wear the national flagpin on my heart- on my jacket/shirt. Does this mean I’m more a nationalist? Can I force others? National Anthem!
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) November 30, 2015
Forcing ppl to get up while the National Anthem is playing is akin to Authoritarianism . My relationship with my country is btwn her& me 1/n — Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) November 30, 2015
@ruchikokcha just turning argument around, would singing a national anthem necessarily invoke nationalistic feelings? Churlish to believe.
Will refuse to stand up for the National Anthem the next time in a movie just to see if headlines refer to me as ‘Atheist man’. — Suprateek Chatterjee (@SupraMario) November 30, 2015
Don’t stand up when a woman is being harassed on the streets. But stand for the National Anthem before a movie to show how you love India.
— lindsay pereira (@lindsaypereira) November 30, 2015
One Twitter user brought up this argument:
A response to that is in the Quora question, ‘Why do Indian Muslims oppose the National Anthem?’:
And here are two more, one of which also questions the very purpose of the National Anthem:
So, going by the responses above, it is clear that anyone can stand up for the National Anthem.
But there is no law that holds guilty someone who does not ‘stands up’ for the National Anthem.
This is the only law that tells what constitutes ‘insult’ to the National Anthem:
THE PREVENTION OF INSULTS TO NATIONAL HONOUR ACT, 1971
3. PREVENTION OF SINGING OF NATIONAL ANTHEM
Whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
However, standing up when the National Anthem is sung is seen as an act of respect towards the country.
And this is what others pointed out on Twitter.
And where is basic civility? Hindu or Muslim or Christian — I would stand for national anthem of any country. https://t.co/QkRpWn6yHZ
— Tufail Ahmad (@tufailelif) November 30, 2015
Why can’t you stand up for the National Anthem in theatres? Have some respect for UNESCO for voting it the best, 10 years in a row. — Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) November 30, 2015
It has to be made clear to everyone that you got to stand in #National_Anthem At least pay this much respect to country..
— Atish sharma (@atishsharma990) November 30, 2015
@sarvarta I talked abt them cz ppl r like “So what” its just some song… Hello Its National Anthem,Not Hindu or Sikh anthem.. Respect it..
— Smooth Criminal !!! (@I_am_Rangil) November 30, 2015
Whether or not the National Anthem must be played in cinemas is debatable.Disrespecting it is CERTAINLY not! — Shreyasi Goenka (@anvivud) November 30, 2015