Before we begin to explain why Bollywood celebrities stand with the students of Jamia Milia University, it’s essential to know what is CAB and why are the students protesting.
What is the CAB?
The Citizen Amendment Bill seeks to amend the definition of an illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who have lived in India without documentation. They will be granted fast-track Indian citizenship in sex years.
The opposition says that Bill discriminated against Muslims and violates the right to equality enshrined in the Constitution. The logic that follows the government’s inclusion of the six religions is that the people of such minorities are subjected to religious persecution in the three Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Their numbers have fallen sharply since 1947, and that data, which can’t be refuted, is a testimony to their prosecution.
Why are the students protesting?
There are two distinct rallying points of protests against the act. In the northeast (Assam), the rally is against the act’s implementation in their areas. Most of them fear that if implemented, the law will cause a rush of immigrants that may alter their demographic and linguistic and cultural uniqueness.
And the rest of India, including the students in Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, and others amid massive police deployment, are protesting against the exclusion of Muslims, alleging it to against the ethos of the Constitution.
The National Register of Citizen (NRC) is linked with CAB, where the Muslims are left out their right to appeal before the court or authorities. The NRC is a process aimed at removing illegal immigrants from India. The process is completed in Assam. However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in the Parliament that the NRC would be implemented in India soon.
Under NRC, a person is eligible to be a citizen of India if they can prove to the government that either they or their ancestors were born or were living in India on or before March 24, 1971. The Assam NRC process is initiated to weed out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who came into India during the India-Pakistan war in 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.
In specific Jamia Millia Islamia University, the Delhi Police lobbed teargas shells inside the campus, forced their way in, and allegedly dragged students out of the library and the mosque and assaulted them. Many celebrities came out to speak about the ill-treatment and the ruckus created while protesting for CAB. Actor and politician Kamal Hassan slammed the center, and the AIADMK led the Tamil Nadu government over the CAB. The AIADMK’s support to the CAA in the Parliament was a betrayal of the Tamils and the nation. The actor said, ‘There is the NRC when it is implemented, we will get into the field and go as far as we could.’
Director Anurag Kashyap, who left Twitter, has returned to the social media platform to express his views on the same. He sounded angry and heartbroken because of how the students are being treated. He tweeted, ‘This has gone too far, can’t stay silent any longer. This government is fascist, and it makes me angry to see voices that can make a difference stay quiet.’
Ritesh Deshmukh tweeted, ‘I stand in solidarity with the students protesting peacefully. What makes our country great is that every voice is heard, be it of one person or thousands. I do not support any kind of violence. We are and have always been proud of our Police Force, but this time they should have been more compassionate while assessing and tackling the situation. Our students didn’t deserve this.’
Actor Sushant Singh who is known for his hosting show ‘Savdhaan India,’ has expressed that due to his involvement in speaking against the Citizenship law has ended his stint with the host. Even though the actor claimed that it is a minimum price that he had to pay for speaking out the truth and standing up for what he feels is right, fans and netizens have been commenting on his post and asking that is this a “price” that he had to pay for speaking the truth.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt appreciated Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament Derek O’Brien for raising his voice and comparing the government’s decision to that of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology. Mahesh Bhatt mentioned that history has witnessed examples of a community being termed as wrong to deny them humanity; something according to him was responsible for the genocides. The filmmaker also mentioned that it was time for ‘freedom-loving people’ to walk the talk something he thanked Derek O’Brien for.
Derek O’Brien stated, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat their mistakes. I want to go back, 84 years when Nazi Germany passed two distinct laws. There is an eerie similarity to laws passed today.”
Ayushmann Khurrana, who has done movies like Article 15, has tweeted that he is deeply disturbed and hurt because of what is going on with the students in Jamia. The actor clarified that he strongly condemns this act. He mentioned that ‘All of us have the right to protest and exercise our fundamental freedom of expression.” The actor made sure he sounded politically correct by mentioning that he does not support the violence, which leads to the destruction of public property. The Bala actor didn’t forget to mention that we belong to a country which was lead by a man who supported non-violence and he wants everyone to follow that. He urged the citizens to Have faith in democracy.
The URI actor Vicky Kaushal took his social media to mention that the violence in the country is not okay! He continued his tweet by mentioning that everyone in the country has a right to voice their opinion peacefully. If this voice takes a form of violence and disruption, this act turns into a heartbreaking and saddening situation. This also becomes a significant concern for the other people of the country. “In no circumstance, must our faith in a democracy be shaken.”
Parineeti Chopra also joined the list of actors who condemn the CAB. She stated that if this is how our country would be every time a citizen expresses their view, then forget about the CAB, we should pass a bill and not call our country a democracy anymore.
Actor-author Twinkle Khanna also took her social media to express her views. She was more direct in her criticism, saying, “Discrimination based on race, color, caste, religion and other such social constructs in whatever form goes against the fundamental moral integrity of the human condition.”
Actress Swara Bhaskar said she doesn’t want her tax money to be wasted on such a “sick” project. Film director Anubhav Sinha admired the patience of Indian Muslims by tweeting “Dear Indian Muslims….. this too shall pass. You have shown exemplary patience past few years and you should be proud of it. I am….”
Actor Siddharth tweeted in which he criticized Palanisami for supporting the CAB and said had Jayalalithaa been there; she would never have backed the Bill.
While there are actors who are speaking up, the Khans of the Bollywood Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh haven’t talked about this matter. Fans and students have been agitated about how can people like the Khans not speak about something like CAB. Fans have been continuously tweeting and DMing the actors about what’s their take on the same.
Fans have been mocking Aamir Khan with posting pictures from his movie ‘Rang De Basanti’ where a group of friends were full of rage and stood up against the government because of whom they lose a friend. Also, sharing a character from the movie, Laxman Pandey’s character growth from being a hardcore Hindu to a point where he accepts that in India, Hindu and Muslim can live together if the person in charge just stop making everything personal and think straight.
One of the emerging actors in the Bollywood Sayani Gupta asked the actors including Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkumar Rao and Karan Johar for being silent on the same. She tweeted, ‘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? Maybe?”
Richa Chadha, who has always been vocal about how she feels, shared a video of a girl from Jamia Millia University and tweeted, ‘This is heartbreaking… In which civilized country is this normal? Why such excessive force? Who teargases are students studying inside a library? Nothing justifies this.”
Siddharth Malhotra also spoke against the violence happening against the students of the university. He tweeted, ‘My heart goes out to all the students back home in Delhi. In a democracy like ours, its sad to see violence against citizens for voicing their opinion through peaceful protests. There should be no place for violence of any form & intent in our country. I strongly condemn this act.”
While some actors have decided to speak up, some have decided to stay silent on the matter. The actors aren’t to blame for not speaking their hearts out because we live in a country where the actors are perceived and praised as a god, and if they speak out something out of rage or because of something personal, it can backfire at them. But the audiences who preach them expect them to say something so that they know that they have someone backing them up.
Tensions flared across the country after police personnel resorted to lathi-charge and firing of tear gas shells to deal with the violence during protests during which several students and police officials sustained injuries.
Several educational institutions across the country have come out in support of the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia after the incident against Police action. This is not about supporting the CAB or not, but it’s pretty clear that the celebrities are not in favor of the conditions our country is in right now. They urged everyone to be safe and keep a check on themselves before taking any action.
What are your thoughts on the same? Let us know.