The veteran actor, Shabana Azmi, made a remark at an event in Indore on Saturday. She pointed out that the government’s critics were being labelled anti-nationals. She added that no one in the country should be afraid and no one needs a certificate to prove anything.
“It is always necessary that we point out flaws for the betterment of our country. If we do not, how can our conditions improve? But the atmosphere is such that if we criticise the government, we are branded as anti-nationals. We should not be afraid, nobody needs their certificate,” Ms Azmi said at an event in Indore.
The actor said she had grown up in a composite culture. “We should fight the situation and not kneel before it,” Azmi added. “India is a beautiful country. Any attempt to divide people cannot be good for this country.”
Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Monday called Azmi the “new leader of ‘tukde tukde’ and ‘award wapsi’ gang”, accusing her of subverting India’s interests by criticising the government.
शबाना आजमी टुकड़े-टुकड़े गैंग और अवार्ड वापसी गैंग की नई नेता है। pic.twitter.com/reCXGRSZgc
— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) July 7, 2019
Mr Singh, known for controversial comments and often targeting minorities, was referring to terms used by right-wing commentators against their left-wing counterparts, accusing them of separatism and selective outrage. During the Lok Sabha election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had used the term “tukde tukde gang” to attack the opposition Congress.
Responding to the criticism, Ms Azmi today said her criticism of the government was not reserved to the BJP alone and that she had criticised the Congress when it was in power over the murder of playright Safdar Hashmi in 1989.
4 d record in Safdar Hashmi murder I took on HKL Bhagat of Congress publicly.I challenged Imam Bukhari on national TV 4 which he called me a naachnewali n was condemned by both Houses of Parliament.Hve spoken against triple talaq n halala repeatedly so who is selective ?
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) July 8, 2019
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and his wife Amrita Sigh were also present at the event. Criticising Malegaon blast accused and BJP’s Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur, he said, “Today the person who killed Mahatma Gandhi is being hailed as a patriot. There are reports that Nathuram Godse’s statue is being constructed. Can we not raise our voice against this?” he asked.
He said that fake news has become a bigger threat than terrorism and there is an environment of hostility and hatred.