A wheelchair-bound person was labelled as a Pakistani and hurled with insults after he didn’t rise for mandatory national anthem pre-screening at a movie theater in Guwahati, news agency ANI reported. 

Arman Ali, a disabled rights activist, had gone to watch a movie along with his relatives on Thursday when the incident happened. While his relatives stood up for anthem, Ali said he did “best by sitting upright” to show respect to the national anthem. He also said he recited national anthem while remaining seated. 

However, as soon as the anthem was over, he heard someone calling commenting from behind that “Saamne ek Pakistani Baitha hai” (There is a Pakistani sitting in the front).  

Ali, who works as an Executive Director of Shishu Sarothi, NGO for differently-abled, took to Facebook to explain the incident. 

Last year, Supreme Court had ordered all cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of a film. However, after an outcry over the order’s lack of differentiation among people based on their physical condition and strength, Home Ministry had issued guidelines for  wheelchair users and people with locomotor disability suggesting that they should not move and position themselves “maintaining the maximum possible attentiveness and alertness physically”.

Speaking to ANI on Monday, Ali said he’ll write to Chief Justice of India about the incident. He said he wasn’t aware whether Supreme Court would have thought of a situation like this. 

This is not the first incident where commoners, unaware of the physical condition of the victim, have assaulted or insulted those who didn’t rise for national anthem.

In October last year, a disability activist Salil Chaturvedi was assaulted and thrashed by a couple behind him, when he didn’t rise for national anthem at a movie theater in Goa. An award-winning writer and disability campaigner, Chaturvedi suffers from spinal injury as a result of which he can’t stand up. 

Feature image source: ANI