NEW DELHI: It was not a very good start to the Russian trip for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he had to be physically stopped from walking by a Russian officer while the Indian national anthem was playing.

The Prime Minister responded to a gesture by another Russian officer and started walking to inspect the guard of honour upon his arrival at Moscow. This was just as the Russians were playing the Indian national anthem. Quite oblivious to the fact that respect to the anthem required a stationary salute, PM Modi started walking. The said Russian official rushed up behind him, caught his arm, and almost pulled him back to the original position with the clear message that the Prime Minister should stay in place in respect for his country’s national anthem.

PM Modi then stood in respect for the rest of the national anthem. Interestingly, even as the above television news channel and others as well recorded the slight the commentary did not reflect the grave error made by the Prime Minister of India. It was clear from the recording that he had no thought for the protocol that requires all concerned to stand to attention while the national anthem is being played.

The social media started reacting immediately the news broke with tweets and posts pointing out that the ‘bhakts’ would have attacked anyone else for the same viciously. It might be recalled that the Vice President Hamid Ansari had been attacked for not raising his hand in salute at the Republic Day parade, even though according to protocol he was not supposed to given the fact that the salute at the time was being taken by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee. He was attacked on the social media and outside by trolls and others, with not a word in his defence from the government. Finally the Vice Presidents office issued a clarification reminding the critics about the well laid down protocol, after which they calmed down.

As Facebook post wondered, “where are they going to send the Prime Minister of India now? Or is there another set of laws for the Prime Minister, and another for ordinary citizens of India?”