BJP leaders slam Deepika Padukone's gesture of solidarity towards JNU students
Bollywood star Deepika Padukone’s act of solidarity on the way to the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), an unexpected advent where she refused to talk to the media, has been criticized by a section of BJP leaders. Calling it support for the "tukde tukde gang", they have suggested that people boycott her movies.
But Union Minister Prakash Javadekar elucidated the matter, stating anyone can go anywhere and have their opinion on any issue. "There can be no objection to it," he added. When pressed that BJP leaders were supporting her boycott, he said he was the party's national spokesperson.
Deepika Padukone, one of the most popular actors in India, had gone to the university last evening as a protest by the students against Sunday's attack by masked goons was going on. She had refused to talk to the media, stating she had come just to show solidarity. Pictures of her standing shoulder to shoulder with the students, including students' union chief Aishe Ghosh, drew much commendation.
But criticism began soon after, with the BJP's Tejinder Bagga tweeting, "RT if you will Boycott Movies of @deepikapadukone for her Support to #TukdeTukdeGang and Afzal Gang".
Hashtags #BoycottChhapaak and #shameonbollywood started trending -- Chhapaak being Deepika’s movie to be released on 10th January, where she plays an acid attack survivor.
Several other leaders also joined in.
Shahnawaz Hussein stated that she should have taken "proper cognisance of violence" and her show of solidarity with Leftist organisations proved her "one-sided thinking".
Condemning Deepika’s visit to JNU, BJP’s Ram Kadam stated it was "unfortunate" and that she should have visited the place with "an agenda of national interest". "An actor should be an actor. It looks as though she was the spokesperson of a political party," he told reporters.
Asking people to boycott "Chhapaak", Delhi leader Ramesh Bidhuri said a Bollywood star is supposed to give a "positive message" to youth through movies instead of being seen with those who are against the nation.
The comments of the BJP leaders raised dust on Twitter, with many questioning why the government was taking sides in what the police and the university have claimed was a clash between students. Students affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), linked to the BJP, have accused the Left students of attacking them.The Left students stated the ABVP, along with outsiders, launched a surprise mob attack on the campus, in which 19 students and five faculty members were injured.
Queried about the issue, BJP’s Prakash Javadekar said he had not read the remarks. Then he added, "Why only artistes, any common man can go anywhere to express his opinion, there cannot be any objection".