12 people arrested at the International Film Festival of Kerala, India

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India’s Supreme Court issued last months a rule that said the anthem must be played before every film screening in the country, accompanied by an image of the national flag, and that audiences must stand. “If we did not sit on the chairs, I thought we would lose the seats,” one of the arrested explained. A such attitude in India is considered now as showing disrespect to the national anthem. The top court’s ruling comes amid an increase in nationalistic attacks since the rightwing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in mid-2014. However, unusual situations are reported: in October, Salil Chaturvedi, who uses a wheelchair, was hit on the head by people standing behind him when he remained seated during the national anthem at a cinema in Panjim in the southern state of Goa.

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