Thousands of students across India took to the streets demanding a probe into the use of teargas inside the Jamia library as well as police entering the campus without permission from university authorities on Sunday.
Prominent names from the film fraternity, including director Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee Pannu, Konkona Sensharma and Sudhir Mishra on Monday condemned the police crackdown on students of Jamia Milia while accusing the government of trying to stifle the voices of dissent against Citizenship Amendment Act. Thousands of students across India took to the streets demanding a probe into the use of teargas inside the Jamia library as well as police entering the campus without permission from university authorities on Sunday. Jamia Milia had turned into a battlefield on Sunday as police entered the campus and used force, following student protest against the Act. Many on the social media noted the usual silence of top stars, directors and producers in Bollywood but there were many who voiced their support for student protests.
Director Anurag Kashyap, who had left Twitter in August this year, returned to the social media platform to voice his anger over the way student protests were handled. “This has gone too far… (I) can’t stay silent any longer. This government is clearly fascist… and it makes me angry to see voices that can actually make a difference stay quiet..” he tweeted. Actor Taapsee Pannu said the videos of police action inside the campus were heartbreaking. “Wonder if this is a start or the end. Whatever it is, this is surely writing new rules of the land and those who don’t fit in can very well see the consequences. This video breaks heart and hopes all together. Irreversible damage, and I’m not talking about just the life and property,” she wrote on Twitter.
Director Sudhir Mishra tweeted, “In 1987, I made a film called ‘Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahin’ on the background of student politics. Towards the climax, the police enter the campus and brutally beat up the students. Nothing has changed. Terrible that now we know where the flowers (have) gone. Crushed!” “We are with the students! Shame on you @DelhiPolice,” said actor-filmmaker Konkona Sensharma. Hollywood star John Cusack also took note of the videos from inside the campus, which have gone viral on social media. He first asked the context of the protests and wrote, “Reports from Delhi are – it was a war zone last night – Fascism is not a joke – we use the word with the understanding, it’s deadly.”
In a pointed tweet, actor Sayani Gupta wrote, “On behalf of the students of Jamia & AMU request at least one of you to tweet or message Mr Modi condemning this act of police brutality and violence against students. The time has come to speak up guys. Yes? No? May be? @RanveerOfficial, @karanjohar, @ayushmannk, @RajkummarRao” Rajkummar Rao condemned the police action against the students while appealing for peaceful protests. “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 kind of act of destruction of the public properties. Violence is not the solution for anything!,” he wrote on Twitter.
South star Siddharth tweeted, “These two are not Krishna and Arjuna. They are Shakuni and Duryodhana. Stop attacking #universities! Stop assaulting #students! #JamiaMilia #JamiaProtest.” “Those who are clapping or silent at this time, do not panic, when the same police and people do this to you, we will still fight and speak for you,” actor Mohamad Zeeshan Ayyub posted on Twitter.
Writer-comedian Varun Grover said history will take note of what happened in Jamia. “Whatever may be next, but this fact will always be in history that some Makkar (cunning) people tried to divide this great country in the name of religion, the most sacred place of a university, tears and gas on the students studying in the library, sticks, and rained abuses. The present will blur, history will remain,” Grover tweeted.
Actor Ali Fazal said now was not the time to stay silent, irrespective of one’s ideological divide. “It’s funny, I felt, hey Ali, let’s play it safe all these years. And now I can’t. A lot of my colleagues may not speak up at all. But I pray we all realise there is no job, no career above humanity. Socho, aur time kam hai toh act fast (Think, and if you have no time, then act fast). Irrespective of your political ideologies right now,” he wrote on Twitter.
Criticising the police action in Jamia, actor Swara Bhasker wrote, “Shocking messages of violence, tear gassing from #Jamia in #Delhi ! Why are students being treated like criminals? Why are hostels being tear gassed.. ??? What is going on #DelhiPolice ???? Shocking and shameful!” Actors Richa Chadha, Vikrant Massey, Swara Bhaskar directors Anubhav Sinha, Onir and Reema Kagti were also among those who voiced support for those protesting against the Act.
Meanwhile, superstar Akshay Kumar found himself in a row after he “accidentally” liked a tweet making fun of protesting students of Jamia. He said he had accidentally liked the tweet from a user which read, “Badhai Ho… Jamia me Azaadi mili hai”. The user had posted a video of showing students running away from police personnel. “Regarding the ‘like’ on the tweet of Jamia Milia students, it was by mistake. I was scrolling and accidentally it must have been pressed and when I realised I immediately unliked it as in no way do I support such acts,” Akshay said.