In­dian cin­e­mas or­dered to play na­tional an­them

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

NEW DELHI: In­dian cin­e­mas must play the na­tional an­them be­fore screen­ing a film and the au­di­ence must stand and lis­ten, the Supreme Court said on Wed­nes­day in a rul­ing echo­ing grow­ing na­tion­al­ist sen­ti­ment un­der Premier Naren­dra Modi.

The court or­dered that an im­age of In­dia’s na­tional flag also be dis­played on screens dur­ing the an­them, and it gave cin­e­mas 10 days to com­ply, say­ing its de­ci­sion would help “in­stil a sense of com­mit­ted pa­tri­o­tism and na­tion­al­ism”.

“Peo­ple must feel this is my coun­try and this is my moth­er­land,” the New Delhi court said in an in­terim or­der is­sued in re­sponse to a pe­ti­tion from a lo­cal re­tiree.

“The time has come for peo­ple to re­alise that the na­tional an­them is a sym­bol of con­sti­tu­tional pa­tri­o­tism.”

Na­tion­al­ist fer­vour surged when Modi’s gov­ern­ment said in Septem­ber it had sent troops into ter­ri­tory con­trolled by Pak­istan to strike at mil­i­tants sus­pected of pre­par­ing to at­tack.

In­dia’s Bollywood in­dus­try found it­self caught up in the af­ter­math when a film­mak­ers’ body banned the hir­ing of Pak­istani actors.

Play­ing the an­them in In­dian cin­e­mas was com­mon in the 1960s, but the prac­tice fell out of favour as fewer and fewer peo­ple paid at­ten­tion.

Some com­men­ta­tors mocked the rul­ing as id­i­otic.

“The Supreme Court’s moral, con­sti­tu­tional and po­lit­i­cal id­iocy in the na­tional an­them or­der is truly breath­tak­ing. More dark times ahead,” Pratap Bhanu Me­hta, pres­i­dent of the Del­hibased Cen­tre for Pol­icy Re­search think-tank, said on Twit­ter. – Reuters

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