Panaji: A wheel-chair bound writer and poet was allegedly beaten up by a couple in a Goan multiplex, wondering hwy he was not able to stand up during the national anthem.
According to reports, award-winning writer and disability campaigner Salil Chaturvedi, who suffers from a spinal injury, was hit hard by the husband, while the woman accompanying him yelled, “Why can’t he get up?”
Not one to be provoked into violence, Chaturvedi reportedly turned and told the couple, “Why don’t you just relax? Why do you have to get into people’s faces? You don’t know the story here. You will never know.”
The couple reportedly continued their jingoistic rant about respect for the national anthem and the importance of standing up when it is played. But on grasping the scenario properly, the couple reportedly ‘backed out’ fearing police action.
But the after-effect of this impudent attempt to enforce their version of patriotism is that Chaturvedi fears to visit a movie hall ever again.
“I can’t go. I’m afraid someone will hit me even harder, and worsen my spinal injury. I just don’t understand why it seems impossible for so many people to express patriotism in a non-aggressive manner,” he said.
Chaturvedi is best known for his part in children’s television programme ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim’ and is also well known for compiling the first Konkani audio-book for the blind. Ironically, Chaturvedi is the son of an Air force veteran, and Salil has himself represented the country in wheelchair tennis at the Australian open.
"I now believe that even if I could stand up during the national anthem, I would rather not, simply because I am being forced to do so. My father is an Air Force veteran. I represented the nation in wheelchair tennis at the Australian Open. Look at my life choices! Who are you to judge how much I love India?," he asked....