Indian writer held for 'insulting' national anthem

In this photograph taken on August 30, 2012, Indian school children salute as they stand to attention and sing the national anthem "Jana Gana Mana" in Hyderabad. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Supreme Court recently ruled that the anthem must be played in every cinema

A writer in India has been charged with sedition for allegedly showing disrespect to the national anthem.

Kamal C Chavara was detained by the police in Kerala state on Sunday after the youth wing of the Hindu nationalist BJP lodged a complaint against him.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the anthem must be played in every cinema before a film is screened.

Some 20 people have been held in Kerala and Tamil Nadu since then for remaining seated during the anthem.

Also, India's colonial-era sedition law has been often used against students, journalists, writers and social activists and those critical of the government.

Reports said that the BJP's youth wing lodged a complaint against a Facebook post by Mr Chavara which allegedly insulted the anthem. The post was apparently an excerpt from one of his books.

Senior police official Sateesh Bino told the NDTV news channel that the writer-activist "is being questioned for his controversial post on the national anthem on Facebook" and had been charged with sedition.

Earlier this month, 12 people were arrested at a cinema in Kerala, after they remained seated while the national anthem played.

The cinemagoers, who were attending an international film festival, were later freed but they face charges of "failure to obey an order issued by a public servant, thereby causing obstruction or annoyance to others".

And at a cinema in Chennai, eight people who did not stand for the anthem were assaulted and abused, police said. The eight were later charged with showing disrespect to the anthem.

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