Bollywood actor Anupam Kher’s led march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan while protesting against those who returned their award against the rising Intolerance turned ugly and ran into a big controversy. According to media reports a reporter of a leading news channel was heckled during the march.
“India is a very tolerant country. Some people have coined the term ‘growing intolerance’. They are very few. Not every Indian thinks like that. We are secular people. We do not believe in pseudo-secularism, selective outrage or selective patriotism,” Kher, who is the spouse of BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher, told reporters.
“We had a meeting with a lot of writers, artistes, filmmakers and they also believe that there is no intolerance in the country… This march is a symbolic gesture on part of a lot of people over here who say India is one and free of intolerance,” the 60-year-old said.
Many filmmakers and artistes from the fraternity including Madhur Bhandarkar, Ashoke Pandit, Priyadarshan, Manoj Joshi, Abhijeet Bhattacharya and writer Madhu Kishwar joined the march to hand over a memorandum signed by more than 40 personalities including actress Raveena Tandon.
Bhairavi Singh, a NDTV reporter, alleged that she was called a prostitute, heckled, chased just for saying that the Indian creative world is divided on this issue. In a series of tweets, Bhairavi said she was abused, heckled, pushed by educated people and a mob for covering the march which also included filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and painter Vasudev Kamath.
Recounting her horror story further, Bhairavi also described that she was terrorized on social networking site Twitter as well. Taking note of the shameful incident Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that such kind of a treatment is unacceptable. “I admire ur courage Ma’am,” he added in his tweet. Meanwhile , filmmaker Ashoke Pandit who also was present in the march said the President has assured them that he will take up the issue with the PM. Film-maker Priyadarshan said the act of returning the awards is “childish”.
At least 75 members of the intelligentsia have returned national or literary awards in an escalation of protests by writers, historians, filmmakers and scientists over “growing intolerance”, voicing fears that the country’s robust democracy might be “coming apart” in the current atmosphere. The BJP-led government has dismissed the protest as “manufactured rebellion” and “politically” motivated. That has sparked off the debate about Intolerance .