India arrests 20 for not standing during anthem

New Delhi: Around 20 people were arrested in India for failing to stand for the national anthem in cinemas.

The incident came two weeks after the country’s top court made it compulsory to stand up during the national anthem.

The Supreme Court ruled on November 30 that cinemas should play the national anthem before every screening and that the audience should stand, drawing angry accusations of an assault on civil liberties.

Reports said 12 people were arrested on Monday at an international film festival in the southern state of Kerala for failing to observe the order.

They said the film-goers, who have not been identified, had refused to stand after being asked to do so by organizers and police.

Six of the 12 had been assaulted after refusing to stand, but that no charges would be brought against the attackers.

Another eight people were arrested on Sunday at a cinema in the southern city of Chennai after being assaulted by a group of 20 men during the interval for allegedly refusing to stand.

The Supreme Court did not specify a penalty for failure to stand.

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