Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen backs Naseeruddin Shah

He also said that attempts to disturb the actor were objectionable and Indians should stand by those jailed for activism

Kolkata: Nobel laureate and renowned economist Amartya Sen on Sunday came out in support of Naseeruddin Shah and said that attempts were being made to “disturb” the actor. Shah was mired in a controversy after his video discussing mob violence and cows gaining precedence over human lives went viral. Shah had also expressed fear for his children and had said that he was afraid what would happen to them if a mob surrounded them and asked about their religion.
In a 2.13-minute solidarity video for the human rights watchdog Amnesty India, Shah had said on Friday that those who demand rights are being locked up.
Speaking at an event Professor Sen came out in full support of actor Naseeruddin Shah. Asked by reporters on the veteran actor’s comments, Sen said, “We must protest against such attempts to disturb the actor… What has been happening (in the country) is objectionable. It should stop.”
In his speech, Professor Amartya Sen stressed on the need for fostering and maintaining humanity, “During the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, what we did, does not come under social responsibility but it is in our humanity to stand by the oppressed. What is happening to Bengali Muslims in Assam in the name of NRC or the deportation of Rohingyas to Myanmar can never be justified. We as humans have failed to do our basic human responsibility to stand with the oppressed.”
He also said, “We need to come out in full support of people like Shah and at the same time be vociferous against those who condemn views expressed by the likes of Naseeruddin Shah.”
Professor Sen further added, “The atmosphere of religious intolerance is gaining momentum each passing day. So every rational person should come forward and protest against this kind of environment.”
When asked why a country like India, which is secular, is witnessing such religious intolerance and what are the reasons behind it, Professor Sen smiled and said, “This could well be qualified as a doctoral thesis. But yes, social reasons coupled with political reasons is the cause.”
About troll attacks against personalities like Shah, he said, “Losing the ability to tolerate others is a serious cause for concern, it points to the loss of ability to think and analyse.”
The 85-year-old renowned economist was attending the golden jubilee celebration of a Bengali magazine Samatat. He addressed a gathering at Purbashree auditorium, EZCC on Sunday.
Along with Prof Sen, Indologist Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, singers Srikanta Acharya and Sraboni Sen, elocutionist Ratna Mitra, Mayor of Bidhannagar Corporation Sabyasachi Dutta were also present at the occasion.
Under the hashtag #AbkiBaarManavAdhikaar, the Amnesty had claimed that India has witnessed a massive crackdown on freedom of expression and human rights defenders.
In his solidarity message in Urdu, Naseeruddin Shah had said, “Artistes, actors, scholars, poets are all being stifled. Journalists too are being silenced. In the name of religion, walls of hatred are being erected. Innocents are being killed. The country is awash with horrific hatred and cruelty.”
Last month, after the killing of a cop in UP’s Bulandshahr, the 68-year-old actor had said the death of a cow had more significance than that of a police officer in the country.
His visit to a literary fest in December was also cancelled following protests by Hindu outfits over his comments on mob violence.



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