Updated: December 1, 2015 2:37:24 am
A group of five people, including a child, was harassed, intimidated and forced to leave a suburban cinema hall Sunday after some moviegoers took exception to them for purportedly not standing up for the national anthem. The incident came to light Monday when a video of the incident was posted on social media.
The 2 minute, 40 second video shows a crowd encircling and harassing the family for not standing up during the national anthem. One man can be seen calling the people “a******s” and threatening: “Thappad maaronga (I will slap you).”
The group, comprising a man, three women and a child, was at PVR Cinemas at Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla, to watch a late night show of the film Tamasha.
Playing the national anthem before every film in cinema halls has been mandatory in Maharashtra since 2003.
The group is seen leaving the hall. Several people in the hall can be seen and heard applauding as they leave.
While PVR confirmed that such an incident did take place, they said they could not confirm the identity of the people involved. They also said the people were not asked to leave but chose to exit on their own.
In an official statement, PVR Cinemas said, “PVR Cinemas is fully committed to the policy of equal respect for everyone. According to an order of the Maharashtra government, it is mandatory for all cinemas to play the national anthem before every film. Being a law abiding company…PVR Cinemas follows the practice of playing the national anthem prior to every show. On November 29, 2015, there was an altercation between guests at one of our cinemas in Mumbai. Our staff intervened keeping in mind the safety of guests.”
In 2003, the then Congress-NCP government had accepted a demand from the Nationalist Youth Congress to restart and enforce the practice of playing the national anthem before each film, which had faded in the ‘80s. The Home department was then headed by NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal.
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