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Kolkata shows spine, backs actor Naseeruddin Shah

Kolkata: At a time when the Bollywood fraternity is maintaining a distance from Naseeruddin Shah, intellectuals from Kolkata have expressed their solidarity for the veteran actor. Condemning the way Naseeruddin Shah’s session at the Ajmer Literature Festival, was called off, due to the pressure from the Right-Wing groups, they maintained that the actor had just shown the mirror and was unnecessarily being witch-hunted.

“I don’t see anything wrong that Naseeruddin Shah has said. He has just expressed a valid concern and as a citizen of this country he is justified in raising this question. I completely support his statement. He has highlighted what India has been witnessing in the past four years,” said former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly, during an intellectual meet organised in Kolkata.

During the meeting, a resolution was passed, in which they not only pledged solidarity with the Naseeruddin Shah, but have also decided to organise rallies, to condemn the way the actor is being criticised by the right-wingers.

“What is more disturbing was the fact that he was barred from attending a session at the Ajmer Literature Festival after he had expressed himself. The ring-wing politicians and foot soldiers should be grateful to him, as he has shown a mirror to them. Instead of hounding him they should contemplate into what they have made of India in these four years,” said Md Nesar Khan, former member of West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC).

Adding to that justice Ganguly, who is also a former chairman of WBHRC, said, “Sadly enough, what ever the actor said is true. Look at the Bulandshahr case. Didn’t the CM ask the cow slaughtering case to be first investigated, instead of the police murder to be first probed.” He then added, “People like Naseeruddin Shah and Dilip Kumar have contributed a lot towards our culture, they shouldn’t be hounded for speaking their mind. Any right-thinking person would have made the same comment as him.”

Khan pointed out, “This is not the first time in the history of India that a person from the minority community or a dalit is being tortured. But sadly, enough today, they are state sponsored. The attitude of the police while investigating cases related to mob lynching etc clearly indicates that they have been told by the government to act in that particular way.”

Also, present at the meet was the actor’s niece Saira Shah Halim. Saira, who is also a social activist said, “I am overwhelmed by the kind of support that he has been getting from across the country. But sadly, the industry that he works in has been maintaining an eerie silence. None has spoken in support of what he has said. It reflects the hypocrisy of the industry. People are there just to earn their living and not take a stand. They are just pretending as if nothing has happened. We had witnessed the same during the Aamir Khan episode. The actor had to pay dearly. Snapdeal had even cancelled their contract with the actor.”

The event, which was organised by Save Democracy Forum, was attended by former mayor of Kolkata and former advocate general of Tripura Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, Dr Fuad Halim, visual artist Wasim Kapoor, Poet Madrakanta Sen among others.

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