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Day after Kerala arrests, film fraternity protests

While the day’s shows began at various theatres in the city on Tuesday, delegates shouted slogans and displayed placards against the Supreme Court directive on showing respect for the national anthem.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
December 14, 2016 3:51:38 am
Kerala film festival, national anthem-Kerala, 12 arrested-Kerala, national anthem row in Kerala, film fraternity-kerala, International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), India news, Indian Express An IIFK delegate protests.

A day after 12 people were arrested for not standing while the national anthem was being played during the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), festival delegates and members of the film fraternity protested against the police action.

While the day’s shows began at various theatres in the city on Tuesday, delegates shouted slogans and displayed placards against the Supreme Court directive on showing respect for the national anthem. The protesters also formed human chains in front of the movie halls.

Festival director and chairman of Kerala Chalachithra Academy Kamal said it was unfortunate that the police took delegates into custody. “Viewers should stand up in respect when the national anthem is being played. But in a festival like this, one has to stand up for all shows in the day, which would be annoying,” he said.

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Film director Sathyan Anthikkad said the national anthem should be respected, but this should not be imposed in this manner.

Shanthi Rajasekhar, a 30-year-old delegate, said, “Respect does not come by force. When you arrest people, the protest will become stronger.”

“Before this directive, people used to stand up for the anthem, but now the issue had opened a venue for protest. Now many are standing up only for the sake of doing so,” said S Gurudas (46).

According to Rushabh, a college student from Thiruvananthapuram, the court directive has reduced the significance of the national anthem. “That one has to stand up for the anthem several times in a festival like this is annoying,” he said.

Later in the day, one Sunil was nabbed by policemen in plainclothes from Ajantha theatre on charges of “showing disrespect to the national anthem”. Sunil, however, claimed that he did not stand up because of a physical disability.

Cultural Affairs Minister A K Balan said the government was bound to follow the directive of the Supreme Court. “We have to ensure that everyone obliges the Supreme Court,” he said.

That the national anthem had become unpleasant for a section of society was a dangerous trend in Kerala, said state BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan. “Those who are against the Supreme Court directive should seek remedy through legal methods,” he said.

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