Indian cinemas ordered to play national anthem
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