IN THE first such case in Jammu and Kashmir, police said two persons, including a state government employee, have been arrested for not standing during the national anthem at a cinema hall here. The incident took place at a cinema hall in Wave Mall in Narwal area on Thursday night. The men have been identified as Javed Ahmed, 34, of Anantnag and Mudassar Ahmed, 30, of Handwara. Police said Javed is a consultant with the J&K Institute of Management, Public Administration and Rural Development in Jammu, and Mudassar is an employee of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Srinagar.
According to the police, the men, who had gone separately to watch Raees, did not stand when the national anthem was played. The matter was brought to their notice by Basudev Joshi, security in-charge at Wave Mall, who had also gone to watch the film. A police official said the duo claimed that they could not stand up in time as they were engaged in an argument with some women over their seats when the national anthem started. The matter is under investigation, said the official, adding that there were no CCTV cameras in the hall.
The men were booked under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and taken to the Narwal Police Post on Thursday night. They could not get bail today as it was a public holiday. Their family members could not be contacted. Police said Javed is a resident of Sainik Colony area in Jammu, while Mudassar had come to Jammu for a departmental exam.
In November last year, the Supreme Court ruled that all cinema halls must play the national anthem before the screening of films, and all present must “stand up to show respect”.