Nationalism cannot be imposed: Kerala journo held for 'disrespecting' national anthem

‘I was getting a chair for myself and got arrested for disrespecting national anthem’
Nationalism cannot be imposed: Kerala journo held for 'disrespecting' national anthem
Nationalism cannot be imposed: Kerala journo held for 'disrespecting' national anthem
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A day after six people including three Kerala journalists were arrested for not standing up while aational anthem was played at IFFK, debates over nationalism has once again occupied the media space. 

Three scribes- including a woman journalist- working with regional media publications were arrested by Thiruvananthapupram Museum police on Sunday from the Nishagandhi auditorium. 

Speaking to The News Minute, journalist Vinesh Kumar said that he had not deliberately refused to stand up while the aational anthem was played at the beginning of the screening. 

"Though my action was not in protest against the SC directive, I do believe that national anthem is not something that should be forced on people. It is only when it is imposed on people, that they begin to rebel against it. They cannot point a gun at us and make us respect national anthem," Vinesh said. 

Vinesh elaborated on the events on December 12 that led to his arrest. 

"The auditorium was packed when I got there, so I went to the back of the auditorium to pull a chair for myself. In the process, I did not realize that the national anthem was being played. By the time I got hold of a chair, I saw the others sitting down and I did the same. However, a few minutes later, the police walked in.  Activists of BJP affiliated Yuva Morcha raised complaint that several people had refused to stand up," Vinesh said. 

Vinesh said that the police team led by Museum SI pulled him by his collar, demanding to know why he had disrespected the national anthem. Once he, along with five others, was taken to the police station, the treatment at the hands of the police was objectionable, Vinesh alleged. 

"On reaching the station, all of us were given a study class on nationalism. The SI went on to accuse that media persons were hell bent on protesting against the SC order. He not only refused to believe my side and asked me whether I had any ailments, as a result of which, I decided not to rise. Pointed out that I had a rod in one of my legs after I met with an accident some time ago, the officer demanded to see it. After I told him that I hail from Wayanad, a district now in the news for Maoist activities, he was more suspicious," Vinesh recounted. 

Protesting against their arrest, film critic Devika Jayakumari wore a badge that said LOVE CANNOT BE FORCED, when she attended IFFK on Tuesday. 

Saying that she holds utmost respect for the national anthem, Devika maintained that it cannot be forced on anyone. 

"The Supreme Court should stop behaving like an abused housewife. The Modi government has been behaving like an abusive husband towards the Supreme Court. And the SC is taking it out on citizens. This should stop," she said.

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