Pune, May 13: During an evening show of the film It’s a Beautiful Afterlife at the E-Square multiplex in Pune, an argument broke out between after people seated in the third row asked a foreigner to stand up for the national anthem.
The foreigner curtly refused to oblige the man in the third row, which incited the man further and he started cursing the foreigner for visiting "our" country and disrespecting the national anthem. At this, the foreigner got agitated and gave it back, saying: "This is not my country, I will not stand up for your national anthem."
This agitated moviegoers, who threatened to "straighten up" the foreigner during the interval break. At this point, the foreigner’s Indian friends intervened and apologised on his behalf.
By the time the drama got over, the national anthem had finished playing.
Neerav Panchamia, vice president (operations), E-Square, agreed the foreigner should have stood up and shown respect to the national anthem. "We expect people, whether of Indian or foreign origin to show this basic courtesy. It is unfortunate that he didn’t. However, we can only request people to do so and not force them. We can’t hold someone by the collar and tell him to respect the national anthem," said Panchamia.
DCP Mahesh Patil of Zone III said: "I am not aware of the incident so I am unable to comment."
Asim Sarode, human rights activist and lawyer, said: "It is a punishable offence. Even if the person is a foreign national, he has to obey the law of the land."