Salil Chaturvedi, an award-winning writer and disability campaigner, was assaulted by a couple in a cinema hall in Goa for not standing up for the National Anthem, said a Times of India report. Chaturvedi, the son of a retired air force officer, is wheelchair bound owing to a spinal injury and has represented India in wheelchair tennis.
According to the TOI report, the husband hit Chaturvedi while the woman shouted, “why can’t he get up?!” Reportedly, Chaturvedi turned and asked them, “why don’t you just relax? Why do you have to get into people’s faces? You don’t know the story here. You will never know”. The report says that the couple continued shouting at him.
Chaturvedi was quoted by TOI as saying, “I can’t go (to movie halls). I’m afraid someone will hit me even harder, and worsen my spinal injury. I just don’t understand why it seems impossible for so many people to express patriotism in a non-aggressive manner.”
This is not the first time that the playing of the National Anthem theatres has led to assaults. In December 2015, a Muslim family was abused by a group of people for not standing up for the Anthem. In January, two women were booked for refusing to stand up for the anthem at a theatre in Mumbai. In 2015, Salman Mohammed, a 25-year-old man from Thiruvananthapuram was arrested under charges of sedition and the IT Act for refusing to stand up for National Anthem in a movie theatre.
The debate around the practice of playing the national anthem is nonconclusive as there have been contradictory incidents. In 2011, two multiplexes in Panipat, were issued a notice for playing the national anthem as it violated the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, as according to the rules the National Anthem cannot be played in closed spaces or beneath ceilings and must be sung only under open skies.
Feature Image Courtesy: Indiatimes.com