A disabled rights activist who is wheelchair-bound was abused and commented upon for not standing up for national anthem in Guwahati on Monday. Arman Ali, Executive Director of Shishu Sarothi, NGO for differently-abled, was in a multiplex when two men sitting behind him called him a ‘Pakistani’ for sitting while the national anthem was being played, news agency ANI reported. Ali said he was singing the national anthem while sitting.
The Supreme Court had in November last yearordered all cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of a film. Reacting to the incident, Ali said he will write to the apex court about the plight of differently-abled people due to the decision of the court.
“I don’t think the Supreme Court would’ve thought of a situation like this. I’ll write to the Chief Justice about this incident.”
Ali took to Facebook and expressed, “Today, I took my nieces and nephew for a movie. As usual they played the NationalAnthem before the movie and my niece and nephew stood up. However, since I am a wheelchair user, I did my best by sitting upright. At the end of the Anthem, I heard a comment from behind “SAAMNE EK PAKISTANI BAITHA HAI” (“There is a pakistani sitting in the front”).”
The November order by the Supreme does not carry an exemption clause for the disabled. Later, the Home Ministry issued guidelines for the disabled to show respect to the National Anthem. The directives suggested that wheelchair users and people with locomotor disability should not move and position themselves “maintaining the maximum possible attentiveness and alertness physically”. For other disabilities, it added that “persons with mild intellectual disability can be trained to understand and respect the national anthem”, along with those suffering from auditory and visual impairments.