Bollywood A-listers have been conspicuously silent over the violence unleashed against the Jamia Millia University’s students.
The silence is palpable. While most mainstream Bollywood stars have refrained from commenting over the police brutality against the Jamia Millia students, a few have put out tweets reacting to the violence.
As videos of the police beating up students were circulated on social media, Sayani Gupta, Swara Bhasker, Vikrant Massey, Nandita Das, Mahesh Bhatt, Soni Razdan, Anubhav Sinha, Konkona Sen Sharma, Onir, Richa Chaddha and Ali Fazal were among the early birds to tweet. Akshay Kumar on the other hand liked a video which justified police brutality against the students, which he later claimed to be an accidental click.
Later, as the day passed, most Bollywood stars came up with neutral tweets, where it seemed that everyone had hired the same copywriter, given that most of them read like rewritten versions of each other.
The vocal bridage
One of Akshay’s closest friends, Riteish Deshmukh, was, however, quite vocal in his criticism. “I stand in solidarity with the students protesting peacefully. What makes our country great is every voice is heard, be it of one person or thousands. I do not support any kind of violence. We are and always have been proud of our police force but this time they should have been more compassionate while assessing and tackling the situation. Our students didn’t deserve this,” wrote Riteish.
Interestingly, Anurag Kashyap came out of Twitter exile to take potshots at the government, while Lisa Ray reacted to the videos of violence by insisting that an FIR be filed against the cops. “Police destroying private property should be held to account. Where is the conscience of the men in power? The ones calling the shots? What is this insanity? Our students are the future and conscience of the country and I stand in solidarity with them. Now and always,” she wrote.
Why the A-listers are mum
Director Anubhav Sinha continued his tirade against all the stars who did not bother to raise their voice against the ongoing protests. When asked why all the A-listers who had rushed in to take selfies with the PM were now keeping quiet, an industry source replied stoically, “After seeing what is happening to the big guys opposing Modi — they are going to jail, being raided etc, film stars, who are often the softest target, have no option. Why should someone want his house and office raided by the IT and the ED now? At some point or the other, actors make some legal error and they don’t want to get penalised for that. They do not want to take panga with the government and would rather suck up to them.”
I strongly condemn the violence that the police have shown in dealing with the students. In a democracy, the citizens have the right to peacefully protest. I also condemn any act of destruction to the public properties. Violence is not a solution for anything!
Deeply disturbed about what the students went through and I strongly condemn this. All of us have the right to protest and exercise out fundamental freedom of expression. However, protests cannot turn violent and lead to destruction of public property. Dear countrymen, this is the land of Gandhi. Ahimsa is and should be the tool to express. Have faith in democracy.
Violence is not a tool to make our country better. We are a democracy and have the power to exercise our fundamental rights in a rightful manner. What the students faced has shaken me and my heart goes out to them and I protest the way the situation was handled. However, I’m also shocked seeing how the protest turned violent. Let’s aim to make our country better through dialogue, debate and dissent and keep our faith in democracy alive.
What is happening is not okay. The way it’s happening is not okay. People have every right to peacefully voice their opinion. This violence and disruption is both saddening and concerning as a fellow citizen. Under no circumstance must our faith in democracy be shaken.
My heart goes out to all the students back home in Delhi. In a democracy like ours, it’s sad to see violence against citizens for voicing their opinion through peaceful protests. There should be no place for violence of any form in our country. I strongly condemn this act.
— Sanskriti Media