In first incident of vigilante justice, a mob consisting of at least 20 people mercilessly beat up a group of college students including two girls after they allegedly did not stand up for national anthem inside a theatre on Sunday.
Four boys and four girls had gone to watch the 11.30 AM show of “Chennai 600028 II” when they were accused of not standing when the national anthem was being played.
During the interval, a group of 20 people, mobbed the students and began to allegedly threaten them for showing disrespect to the national anthem leading to a full-blown fight inside the theatre.
One girl said, “During the interval, people sitting behind us were passing lewd remarks and a man, Vijayakumar, grabbed my friend by the collar and threatened to kill him for disrespecting the national anthem.”
“20 people started beating us and called us names,” said the teen. The students were asked by the security guards to leave but they didn’t, alleging that Vijayakumar had threatened to thrash them the moment they left the theatre.
“All of us in that theatre who didn’t stand are very socially conscious and work for the society. For a group that was clapping and cheering at the casteist and sexist jokes throughout the movie was even manhandling one of my female friends, threatening us even…This is just ridiculous in fact,” the girl was quoted by NDTV.
According to another girl Shreela, during the interval, one Vijayakumar grabbed Viji, a freelance movie reviewer, by the collar and demanded to know why he did not stand up for the anthem.
20 people, according to Times of India report, ganged up on Viji and two women, Sabaritha and Shreela, and beat them up.
“We were harassed and manhandled. They issued life threats and assaulted us. We did not have any intention to show disrespect,” Shreela, a law student, told the paper.
The students were later charged for insulting the anthem. If found guilty, they could face a jail setence lasting up to three years.
Police have not taken any action against those, responsible for attacking the students.
In his interim order, Justice Dipak Misra also stated that all people present inside the theatre must rise to pay respect to the anthem.