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Bollywood continues to remain divided over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). While actors like Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal have supported PM Modi’s decision to implement the CAA, many others have come out in support of the students who suffered police brutalities at the Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU) and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
They have now written a letter appealing the Uttar Pradesh administration to take cognizance of the situation in the state. In their appeal, noted actors Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Konkona Sen, Aparna Sen, Alankrita Shrivastava, Kubbra Sait, Mallika Dua, Zeeshan Ayyub and Swara Bhaskar reads, “Uttar Pradesh is very dear to us. Some of us have our roots in the state and most of us have worked in UP for our projects. What is most important is that whenever films in India are talked out, the heritage of UP has always shined bright.”
Regarding the CAA protests in the state, they said, “The CAA has given rise to a lot of contesting views. However, keeping individual opinions aside, what is fundamental is that the Constitution of India allows each person to peacefully protest and it is the duty of the government to stay within law and support the protests, conduct fair inquiries and it is only the right of the judiciary to decide right from wrong and penalize the guilty.”
They further added, “We feel that the government has shelved these principles, the government has used its brute force to snatch away our right to live, to keep forth our views, our right to dissent, etc. and the brought matters in the state of UP at a dangerous turn.”
Condemning the deaths that have taken place in the state in the wake of the protests and demanding justice for the victims they said, “We wish to highlight a few matters that have come to light from the state – the number of deaths due to police firing, police excesses, targeting a particular community, torturing of minorities, and the abuse of freedom and communal speeches of leaders belonging to the ruling party.”
They also said that according to the ‘godi’ media that is in favour of the ruling party, 18 deaths have taken place in the state, most of them due to police firing. There have to be some protocol of dealing with protestors they said and claimed that none of those protocols have been followed.
Their letter also mentioned that according to media reports, there have been mass arrests and the police is using sheer force for the crackdown on protestors, for which disturbing video evidence is available. They said there could be no justification for the barbaric torture of unarmed innocents, all for exercising their right to protest.
They also condemned CM Yogi’s statements in their letter saying, “The CM says that the breach of law and order will be avenged. Nobody denies that it is the government’s responsibility to maintain order in the state, but it is unbecoming of the authorities to give such inciting orders.”
They also said that the shutting down of the internet was another tragic example of trampling upon the fundamental rights of citizens, putting everyone at an inconvenience.
Speaking about the damage to property they said, “We collectively condemn the damage to public property. We maintain that if someone is found to be guilty, a fair trial must be instituted against them. But we unequivocally support peaceful protests which are an integral part of democracy and we feel are being curbed in Uttar Pradesh.”
In their concluding statement they said, “We appeal the courts in India to take suo moto cognizance of the happenings in UP and urge them to conduct a fair trial into the loss of lives and damage to property. As concerned citizens of the country, we follow the letter and spirit of the Constitution and pledge to adopt the Gandhian method of non-violence to resist such oppression.”
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