NEW DELHI: The police have arrested twelve people for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem in cinema on Monday, the incident took place in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state.

The arrests were made as the people were not standing as a gesture of esteem while the national anthem was being played before a movie at the International Film Festival of Kerala, according to media reports.

The police have confirmed that all 12 arrested people are Indian nationals. Currently, these people have been released on bail. It was confirmed that the arrests were made in reaction to these individuals not standing up in respect to the Indian national anthem at a movie theatre.

Earlier, the Indian Supreme Court had issued an order a few months ago to all cinema owners to play the Indian national anthem before start of a movie in their cinemas. This is to encourage patriotism in the country.

In India, there is also a formal act for this purpose called the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971. If someone intentionally breaches this act, he/she is punished by imposing a fine and imprisonment up to 3 years.

Moreover, there was a significant outrage against these arrests in which more than a hundred people gathered around cinemas in Kerala. They were holding signs saying, “Playing the national anthem in theatre is like selling it for free in a supermarket. Please don’t degrade my national anthem”. The protesters included film-makers, actors and general public.