On 18 April, passengers flying on SpiceJet flight SG1044 from Tirupati to Hyderabad faced an odd dilemma while on board. As the flight was about to land in Hyderabad and passengers were told to fasten their seat belts, the Indian national anthem started playing on the flight's PA system.
According a report in The Times of India, the passengers could neither stand up to show respect to the national anthem nor afford to take the seat belt off, for safety reasons.
The incident prompted a passenger called Puneet Tiwari to file a complaint against the airline.
"We were surprised when the national anthem was played and the passengers were forced to abide by the pilot's directions to keep the seat belt on," he told TOI. Tiwari, who made a video of the incident, added that he was hurt by the airline's apathy towards the national anthem.
A SpiceJet spokesperson said that the confusion happened because one of their crew members accidentally selected a wrong number on the playlist of pre-recorded announcements and messages, which included the Indian national anthem.
"We have pre-recorded national anthem on our aircraft playlist to be used appropriately," he added.
The Indian national anthem has been in the news ever since the Supreme Court directed movie theatres to play it before every screening. Incidents of altercations between movie-goers regarding the 'proper way' to show respect to the national anthem has triggered a fierce debate all over the country.
Last week, the Supreme Court sought response from the Central government on a PIL seeking to ascertain the feasibility of singing the national anthem and the national song in schools and public offices as well.
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