Kannada actor Arun Gowda on Tuesday defended himself on Facebook after video showed him, fellow actor BV Aishwarya and two others shouting at four people for not standing up during the national anthem at a movie theatre in Bengaluru.
The video, shot at PVR Orion Mall on October 23, shows one of Gowda’s companions yelling, “Not able to spare 52 seconds for the country, but you have the audacity to sit here and watch a three-hour movie? Are you Pakistani terrorists?” The NewsMinute reported on Monday.
It also showed Gowda saying to the camera, “Look at these guys. Just look at their faces once again. They are telling us to file a complaint,” TNM quoted.
Another person said, “Our soldiers are fighting for us in Kashmir and you guys are sitting here and don’t even stand for the national anthem. Get out of this place” and the group chanted of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, The Wire said.
The video was shared on Facebook by Aishwarya, who wrote: “So called citizens of India refused to stand while the national anthem was played, we are here as the true citizens to set these anti-Indians right. Don’t you dare.”
She later deleted the post, according to Scroll.
In a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday, Gowda said no one had been manhandled during the incident and that there was a video showing the four people leaving the movie theatre peacefully.
However, he also wrote: ”... n ok if they don’t standup for our anthem according to SC order but when they spoke bad about our India Army not me no one wil spare them... Jai Hind 🇮🇳🇮🇳(sic)”
Gowda told TNM, “How can they not care about army? We demanded that the four people must be removed from the theatre. They were eventually sent out.”
The Supreme Court had in 2018 overturned a previous order that made it mandatory for the national anthem to be played in cinema halls, and said that people did not need to stand up for it.
“Citizens cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves and courts cannot inculcate patriotism among people through its order,” it had said.
But incidents of moviegoers who choose to sit being harassed continue to be reported. In May this year, a 29-year-old sound engineer was harassed at Bengaluru’s Garuda Mall for not standing up during the national anthem. He was booked and released on bail.