Six persons, including a woman, were taken into custody by police on Monday for not standing up when the national anthem was played ahead of the screening of a film at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). This included three journalists who were at IFFK to watch the night screening of a movie.
The IFFK organisers had made it very clear that the apex court guidelines will be followed by them at the 21st edition of the IFFK that began in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday night and all the delegates have to stand up.
At the Nishagandhi auditorium, five youth and a lady, refused to stand up and were taken into custody.
The action came hours after activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party's youth wing, Yuva Morcha, complained to state police chief Loknath Behra pointing out that some people at the screenings were not standing up when the national anthem was being played, as per a report in the Indian Express. Some reports claim that a cameraman working with BJP affiliated Janam TV had first raised the complaint.
IFFK is the first film festival to be held in the country after the Supreme Court made playing of the national anthem mandatory in all cinema halls across the country 'to instill patriotism among citizens.
Earlier, the Minister for Cultural Affairs in Kerala AK Balan had said that people have the choice whether to stand up or not while the national anthem is being played. Chairman of Kerala state Chalachitra Academy, Kamal, had also stated that the academy would seek legal opinion in getting relaxation from the court order.
Supporting his opinion, Academy Vice Chairperson Bina Paul Venugopal had said that the academy may go to court regarding the matter. “In the wake of the present verdict, we may have to go to the court and ask whether it is necessary to play the national anthem before every show during the festival.”
The 21st edition of IFFK will be on till December 16.
(With IANS inputs)