The Modi-led central government has set new guidelines to maintain the sanctity of the national anthem and national emblem.
In an order issued to the state governments and other law enforcement agencies, the Ministry of Home Affairs has told the agencies to initiate action against those who are found disrespecting the anthem and the state emblem.
The MHA in its letter has also elaborated on what amounts to “disrespect” to the national flag, emblem and anthem.
The move comes in the wake of frequent complaints of disrespecting national anthem and misuse of the state emblem.
The Centre has sent an order to all government machineries and asked them to act against those people who are violating rules, and take action against officials using the national emblem wrongly.
“Complaints are being received by this ministry (MHA) from various quarters about the insult or disrespect to the National Anthem of India. Orders relating to the National Anthem must have strict compliance. It is also requested that suitable instructions in this regard may please be issued to all concerned agencies,” the MHA said in its letter sent to all departments, ministries and states.
Sources say that since October last year, the government has been receiving complaints along with instances where people have directly or indirectly insulted the national anthem.
“It has been noticed that MHA is receiving complaints regarding disrespect of the national anthem. So, an order has been issued along with details regarding the national anthem of India so that various government machineries can check that no one disrespects the national anthem intentionally or unintentionally,” a senior government official told media.
In January this year, a resident of Kandivali, Mumbai, was heckled out of a suburban cinema hall for refusing to stand up when the national anthem played before the screening of the movie.
According to the MHA letter issued to all government machineries: “Whenever the anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention. However, when in the course of a newsreel or documentary anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would bring in disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the anthem.”
The government says there are two versions of the national anthem, one of 20 seconds and another of 52 seconds.
Similarly, the MHA has asked states and the central departments to keep a check on those officials misusing the state emblem.
“It has been brought to the notice of this ministry that various government agencies which are using the State Emblem of India on their stationery, publications, seals, vehicles, buildings websites, etc, often omit the motto Satyameva Jayate. It may be noted that the state Emblem of India is incomplete without the motto inscribed (in Devanagari script) below the profile of the Lion Capital is an incomplete display of the State Emblem of India.”