Bangalore police arrested a 29-year-old for not standing up when the National Anthem was being played at a cinema hall in the city on Wednesday. However, the accused claims all charges, as well as the complaint, have since been dropped.
The incident took place in Garuda Mall, Magrath Road, in Central Business District (CBD) of the city when Jithin, a sound engineer, had gone to watch Avengers: Endgame.
Shashidar, inspector of Ashoknagar police station, told Indianexpress.com: “Based on the complaint from a person named Suman Kumar, we arrested Jithin under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act. He was released on station bail the same day.”
According to the police officer, on Tuesday, Suman Kumar along with his friends had gone to watch Avengers: Endgame. While the National Anthem was being played, Jithin, who was next to Kumar, remained seated.
After the National Anthem concluded, Kumar asked Jithin why he did not stand for the National Anthem. This led to a heated argument between the two and Jithin started to abuse Suman Kumar.
According to the complaint by Kumar, Jithin allegedly used a defamatory word against the National Anthem. The theatre staff told the two to leave the hall since the argument was disturbing others. On Wednesday, Suman Kumar lodged a complaint against Jithin at Ashoknagar police station.
Meanwhile, Jithin took to Twitter and said, “I was assaulted and harassed by thugs at an @INOXMovies theatre.” he also put out a Reddit thread along with the tweet about the incident.
I was assaulted and harassed by thugs at an @INOXMovies theater
Heres the Reddit post.https://t.co/SW5rsgiEUL
Now the mall came out officially denying anything happened.
This is not right!
Please share and retweet#BOYCOTTINOX
— Jithin Chand (@jithknot) May 10, 2019
Speaking with indianexpress.com, Jithin said he was disappointed with the fact that no media outlet reached out to him before branding him as an “anti-national”.
“I didn’t stand up for the anthem. The thugs took offence to that which lead to one of them assaulting me physically. I naturally reacted and more people started to gang up on me. INOX pulled me out while they left the thugs in the theatre. I am not out on bail, all charges and complaints were dropped. I wasn’t allowed to file charges as the police detained me unlawfully and didn’t give me any opportunity to do so. I am disappointed that no media outlet reached out to me not even once before publishing and branding me as an anti-national who was arrested and let out on bail,” he said.
Playing the National Anthem at cinemas before every show was made compulsory in 2016 following a Supreme Court order. Only the differently-abled were exempted from standing up when the anthem was being played. However, in January 2018 the apex court modified the order, accepting the Central government’s suggestion to the effect. But cinemas across the country continue to play the national anthem before shows.