A wheelchair-bound activist in Assam, Arman Ali, was called Pakistani after he could not stand during the national anthem being played in the theatre. Ali, who was also hurled abuses, said that he will be raising the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India, Justice Deepak Misra, through a letter he intends to write to them.
Ali is the executive director of Sishu Sarthi, an NGO working for the empowerment of differently-abled people in Assam, where the BJP has formed its first government last year. While he was at a movie screening in multiplex here on Friday, he was allegedly called a ‘Pakistani’ for not standing up during the national anthem, reported news agency ANI.
“The SC came up with this order with the hope of inculcating patriotism. However, it is being misused and it is high time we look into it. We all know what to do when the anthem is played and we don’t need pseudo-nationalism. I am doubtful if they were even aware of the fact that I am Muslim, or else repercussions would have been far more. With the ongoing mob-mentality, I couldn’t raise my voice then. But I will take this up, and write to the CJI, as a citizen of India,” he told ANI.
Ali said that in his organisation, there was a custom of they starting their day by singing the national anthem.
“Is this practice followed in the high courts, parliament or government offices? The way those two men were smirking is as though they had done their national duty. We are respectful enough to wait to enter after the national anthem is played for this reason. We pay our respects to the flag in every way that we can,” he stated.
In November 2016, the Supreme Court had passed a ruling making it mandatory for every movie theatre to play national anthem before the screenings of movies. The apex court had justified its order for ‘the love of the motherland’.