It seems like the Modi government is not quite done with its affiliation with Bollywood. From meetings over the future of cinema, to actors entering politics, this cross-sectional rapport has now touched upon the fiery issue of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal, Baijayant Jay Panda, Vice President and Spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, spoke about an outreach programme to be held in Mumbai today, with Union Minister of Railways Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, and eminent Bollywood personalities to discuss CAA.
When asked, why the ruling government expects B-towners to take a stand on sensitive issues, Panda said, “Our outreach is to explain, and we are willing to answer the tough questions. We want to reach out to people who may have not made up their mind or who may have doubts, or who may have concerns, who want to know more about it. This is an outreach programme by us to try and clarify the issues that are there.”
“So at the bare minimum I would ask whether it is a celebrity or anybody to take a stand that please condemn violence, please condemn that you can protest non-violently, you can go to courts, but no stoning and attacking police and burning buses and all that. That does not require you to understand CAA. One of the celebs said that much and got attacked. I think everybody should take stand at least on the violence issue, and beyond that you can take a stand pro or anti, but please do read both sides of the arguments”, he added.
Last year in December, violent protests erupted near Jamai Millia Islamia University in Delhi and at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh over the amended Citizenship Act. Hundreds of students clashed with police that soon turned violent. The university had turned into a battlefield, as police entered the campus and also used force, following protests.
The chaos had several Bollywood celebs divided with their stance. While some condemned the violence, and participated in protests, others backed the inclusion, and the rest either made blatant statements, or refused to comment stating that they weren’t fully aware of the situation.