Naseeruddin Shah's Ajmer event cancelled after protests by right-wing groups

Naseeruddin Shah was supposed to deliver the keynote address of the fifth edition of the three-day literature festival.

Published: 21st December 2018 09:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2018 06:41 AM   |  A+A-

Naseeruddin Shah ( File | Indulge)

By Express News Service

AJMER: Members of several right-wing groups including the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha launched an agitation outside the Ajmer Literature Festival on Friday over the participation of veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah in the event.

The actor sparked controversy with his comments in a recent video interview conducted by Karwaan-e-Mohabbat India. In the interview, Shah had expressed concern over the security of his children and commented on lynchings and vigilantism.

It had sparked fury across right-wing groups and was sensationalised with debates over a news channel.BJYM workers reached the platform of the festival built in an indoor stadium and proclaimed on the microphone that Shah would not be allowed to enter.

They then exited the hall waving black flags.

Predictably, activists said Shah’s statements had hurt the sentiments of Indians and that he has “disrespected the motherland”. 

Policemen present on the spot did not try to stop the protesters even as they started damaging the event’s properties on the site.  

While shouting slogans against the actor, they then burnt the posters of the festival. 

Learning of the ruckus, Shah refrained from attending the event and instead, visited his Alma Mater, where, while speaking to reporters, he said that his statements were being misinterpreted and that he had a right to put forth his views as a concerned citizen. 

“I have expressed concerns about the sudden death of the policeman and cow slaughter in the Bulandshahar incident. I have not said anything untoward or opposed anyone. Being an Indian, I have expressed my thoughts. If the alleged critic can misinterpret anything said by me, then I too have a constitutional right to put forth an idea. India is my home, and I love it,” he said.

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