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4-min read

Deepika Padukone Stood With 'Tukde Tukde' Gang, Can't Deny Her That Right, Says Smriti Irani

After hitting out at the ‘Chhapaak’ actor, Irani said it won’t be appropriate for her to comment on the probe and the alleged ineptitude shown by the Delhi police in the matter.


Updated:January 10, 2020, 8:30 PM IST
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Deepika Padukone Stood With 'Tukde Tukde' Gang, Can't Deny Her That Right, Says Smriti Irani
A combination image of Union Minister Smriti Irani (L) and Deepika Padukone (R).

New Delhi: The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, on Thursday lambasted Bollywood icon Deepika Padukone for visiting the Jawaharlal Nehru University in an expression of solidarity with the protesting students.

At a conclave organised by The New Indian Express, Irani referred to the “Tukde tukde gang” trope and said, "It's Deepika Padukone's freedom to stand next to people who call for the destruction of India.”

"You are standing with people who celebrate everytime a CRPF jawan is killed. She knew that she is standing with these people. It was not unexpected to us that she was going to stand with people who want the destruction of India. It's her right to stand next to people who say 'Bharat tere tukde honge'. I can't deny her that right. I want to know what Deepika Padukone's political affiliation is. Anybody who has read the news would know why she would stand with the protesters. She made her political affiliation known in 2011 that she supports the Congress Party. If people are surprised by this, it is because they didn't know. There were a lot of admirers of hers who have just discovered her position," she said.

Violence broke out at the JNU on Sunday night as masked men, armed with sticks, rods and acid, barged into the varsity and attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus. The police and the administration have been accused of being mute spectators to the attack by students who have blamed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS youth wing, for the violence.

The Delhi police have not yet arrested a single perpetrator of the attack.

However, after hitting out at the ‘Chhapaak’ actor, Irani said it won’t be appropriate for her to comment on the probe and the alleged ineptitude shown by the Delhi Police in the matter. “I will only say this: there is an investigation that is ongoing, I am in a constitutional post so it is best that I not say anything until the police bring facts to the floor of the court or actually makes those facts public, if the police so desire."

She added, "It would be absolutely irresponsible of me to talk about the details of the incidents. There are people who are informed enough and made the choice to go there and stand with people who supported a terrorist. Because our democracy says you can celebrate your right to insult the Constitution, the national flag and uniformed officers, I pay as an Indian for my democracy."

Apart from Irani, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, too, spoke out on Padukone’s visit to JNU, although with a varied perspective. "Why only artistes, any common man can go anywhere to express his opinion, there cannot be any objection," Javadekar said amid calls for boycotting Padukone's upcoming movie 'Chhapaak'.

Meanwhile, the skill development ministry is reported to have dropped a promotional video featuring Padukone to encourage acid attack survivors to do better in life, days after she visited the JNU campus.

The WCD Minister also defended the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and said, "The law needs to be specific so that there are no loopholes. The need to award citizenship to particular communities alone has been very specific. When you declare Pakistan an Islamic country, then by the virtue of that declaration, who is a minority? Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists. Why would you not want me to say that openly and plainly? How is that offensive? Christians in churches were getting bombed in Pakistan, people were being burnt for blasphemy and recently, the gurdwara in Nankana Sahib was attacked. Finally, what is a bigger example of how Pakistan treats minorities than what we witnessed on 26/11?"

In a rebuttal to the flak that the Centre has been at the helm of for excluding Muslims in the new Citizenship law, Irani said, "There are many people who ask us not to revisit the past but it is that foundation that made us who we are today. I am absolutely proud that my country chose to give refuge, not only to Hindus but to the other specified religions. How come nobody talks about that?"

Further, the Union Minister coaxed the protestors over the scattered incidents of vandalism during anti-CAA demonstrations across India, saying, "I see no reason to pick up a stone and throw it at a uniformed officer for Pakistan or to burn up a bus paid for by the Indian taxpayers. If saying this makes me secular, then I do not want that secularism. Why do all this just because you have a political grudge against Narendra Modi.

At the same time, Irani mocked 'Go to Pakistan' calls, often made by members of the ruling BJP, dubbing it “a childish political comment”.

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, too, slammed Padukone for “grabbing limelight without investment.”

Earlier, Maharashtra BJP leader Ashish Shelar had taken potshots at the actor saying she should not try to act like warrior Mastani, because "she does not have a real-life director behind her".

On Tuesday evening, Deepika made a surprise visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru University to express solidarity with the students who had been attacked.

Her decision to stand in silence with JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh, who received head injuries during the attack on Sunday evening, at a public meeting on the campus prompted many in the industry and outside to praise her for "quiet grace" and "courage". 'Chhapaak' is a film based on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.

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