Kolkata: Member of Parliament of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Paresh Rawal is known to be a consummate actor. But his latest tweet regarding author and activist Arundhati Roy should be made a human shield instead of stone peltors, drew strong reaction from every corner. As not only is it a war crime to make human shield, but also because Roy is a Booker Prize winner, who is revered as a writer across the globe.
While some questioned the timing of Rawal’s tweet, others clamoured to underplay the seriousness of it, claiming it to be a free publicity for the author before the launch of her next book. Most criticised him not just for attacking the author but for supporting something as deplorable as using a human shield by the Indian army in Kashmir.
On April 9, a Kashmiri, Farooq Ahmed Dar was tied to Army jeep in Badgam, when the vehicle was patrolling during Srinagar’s by-election. The action, which falls under the category of a war crime, was widely criticized.
Most people were disappointed by his callous and misogynistic tweet by the actor. Social media was rife with a debate surrounding his tweet and he drew flak from most of his fans.
However, Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Brinda Karat was candid enough to retort, “I don’t even want to react to such low down comment.” But BJP MP Shaina NC distanced herself from this tweet of Rawal, who is one of her own party man. “Irrespective of who said and why I do not agree with such a view. It was not warranted. It was not required. I strongly feel that men in our society need to respect women. There is always room for contrarian view but respect for women must not be sidelined and I strongly condemn the tweet by Paresh Rawal ji,” she said.
Chess grandmaster Dibyendu Barua spoke on behalf of all Paresh Rawal fans when he opined, “Even though I have not seen the tweet and would not be in a position to comment on it I can say this much that this is uncalled for. This is unbecoming of anyone let alone celebrities like Paresh Rawal. They should stop making such callous comments. It sets a bad example for the younger generation. Both Arundhati Roy and he have a lot of followers and fans. This is not a good message to give. Such behaviour would damage their image.”
But it was film fraternity’s noted theatre director and filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay who was straight forward in criticizing Paresh Rawal for forgetting that he’s an artist and a Padma awardee. “He’s a popular figure. His misogynistic comment will only provoke. If you have to argue, argue properly, have a democratic discourse. You need to learn to talk to a person you are disagreeing with. Showing violence is not the solution. They should not forget that both are artists and they have a vital role to play in the progress of this nation. We don’t need to get regressive,” reacted Suman to eNewsroom.
But within twenty four hours, when the news broke that army has rewarded the Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied Dhar as a human shield before the army jeep, Rawal tweet made sense to few political analyst, “It may be to deviate the attention of the people, so that there are no protest made on such a decision at the international level,” a senior Delhi based journalist said.