New Delhi: Actor Suniel Shetty spoke out against the violence on JNU campus Sunday, two days after fellow actor Deepika Padukone’s surprise visit to the university where she expressed solidarity with the protesting students.
In an exclusive interview with entertainment website SpotboyE, Shetty called the incident an “absolute disaster” and said, “I could be Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isayi. I can be anybody from BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena, NCP or any other party. But I have no right to go into a temple of education and beat up the kids.”
Shetty was at the prime of his career in the 90s and the early 2000s. His four-year sabbatical from films ended in 2019 after the release of his film Pehlwaan.
Shetty questioned the “masculinity” of the masked assailants and said, “Mask pehenkar aate ho aur apne aap ko mard kehto ho? Agar mard ho toh khule aam ghoomna chahiye na?” (You wear mask and call yourself a man? If you’re a man, you should roam around without a mask).
On Sunday, several masked goons entered JNU campus and attacked students protesting against the recent fee hike. JNU Students Union President Aishe Ghosh was severely injured in the attack.
‘Why are we sending out wrong message?’
The actor said he was not aware of the political party involved in the incident. “Whichever party has done it, it’s not done. It’s not right,” he said.
When asked about protesters holding ‘Free Kashmir’ posters at various protests, Shetty said, “Kashmir was ours. Kashmir is ours. Kashmiris are ours and we are Kashmiris. So, I think that these things should be very clear.”
The actor, with over 100 films to his name, indicated his anger and disappointment with the current situation. He shared a story of when he was in Vietnam and people told him that his country was “going through hell”.
“I was embarrassed. On one hand, we say that we are a super-power, we are a democratic country… then why are we sending out the wrong message?,” said Shetty.
He also talked about the state of politics today. “There’s so much politics that sometimes the common man never knows the politics behind the scenes.”
Bollywood actors break silence
When Padukone visited JNU on 7 January, she hadn’t addressed the crowd. She had, however, told NDTV India Monday, “I feel proud about it that people are coming out — be it on the streets or wherever they are — they are raising their voice and expressing themselves as it is important. If we want to see change in life and society, it is important that a point of view be put forward.”
Suniel Shetty isn’t the only actor to speak out after Padukone’s visit to JNU. Actor Ajay Devgn said the attack was “very sad” but also noted the “conflicting” reports on the incident.
“I have been watching the news since morning. It’s very conflicting. Till now, we don’t know who has done what. So till the time this is not clear, I don’t know how to comment. It is all very sad what’s happening,” he added.
Actor Sonakshi Sinha also tweeted her support to Padukone for “showing up”.
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