An Army officer in Srinagar asked two journalists to leave an event because they did not stand up for the National anthem and when the National flag was unfurled.
The journalists, who work with daily newspapers Kashmir Reader and Rising Kashmir, were asked on Tuesday to leave the passing out parade of recruits held at the Rangreth centre of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment on the outskirts of the city, after they did not stand up for the national anthem.
This is what the Kashmir Reader correspondent Junaid Nabi Bazaz told PTI
“Army had invited us to cover the event, not to participate in it. When the Indian anthem was played, I was jotting down notes for my story. After the anthem finished, one Colonel Burn came up to us and asked us to leave.”
Bazaz alleges that Colonel Burn misbehaved with them
“He misbehaved with us. He said all people here stood up for the anthem and the flag except you. We do not need people like you here so leave. So we left afterwards.”
Srinagar-based Defence Spokesman Colonel N N Joshi confirmed that he saw that the two journalists did not stand up when national anthem was being played and when a contingent holding the tricolour was passing through.
“I went up to them and explained to them the sanctity involved. They both said they were jotting down notes for the story. However, while I was talking to them, the officer (Colonel Burn) came and naturally, it was his sentiment, and he asked them to leave,” Colonel Joshi told PTI.
As per a report in Kashmir Reader, Joshi came up to the journalists and apologised for Burn’s behavior
“I personally apologise for today’s incident. Burn should have told me instead of expressing himself before you. As promised I raised his misbehavior with the higher ups.”
He further told PTI that he had brought the matter to the notice of the army’s top brass in the Valley
“I appraised the seniors about the incident. I apologised about the incident but the journalists should also understand that there is so much sanctity involved about the event and the national anthem and national flag.”
This is not for the first time someone was made to leave for ‘disrespecting’ the National Anthem.
However, this is probably the first such instance where someone has shown the courtesy to apologise for the misbehavior.
This year, a 26-year-old scriptwriter was evicted out of a cinema hall in Mumbai for not standing up when the national anthem was played before the start of the movie. Earlier in November 2015, a family of four was asked to walk out of a movie hall in Mumbai for a similar reason.