MUMBAI: Actress-model and former politician Gul Panag condemns violence while commenting on the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), but points out that the protesters are politically aware and their action is a mark of participation in the process of democracy, just as casting votes is.
“During the election, we encourage citizens to cast their vote because that is their democratic right. Protesting peacefully against the CAA is also their democratic right. Curbing the voice of the non-violent protestors is wrong. So, it is wrong to tag that protesters are ‘politically motivated’ They are politically aware citizen with questions, and they are actively participating in democracy,” Gul told IANS.
While thousands of citizens are protesting in different cities against the CAA, reports have emerged of police brutality against many of them. Gul feels as long as the protests are peaceful, no one should stop them.
“It is the fundamental right of every citizen in a democracy to protest — please note — peacefully. I oppose damaging public property, I oppose those who attacked duty officers in uniforms or pelted stones,” she said.
She added: “Constitution of India Article 14 mentions two important elements -– ‘equal protection of laws’ and ‘equality before the law’. Please read and emphasis on these two simple but important factors. Of course, the judiciary will decide if the CAA is constitutional or not in January. Even if the judiciary says that the act is not violating the Constitution, the citizens’ right to protest still remains.”
The actress had contested from Chandigarh as a candidate for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but she lost to Kirron Kher, who represented Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Does she support the BJP’s decision to implement the CAA?
“It has to be inclusive, because in politics it is easier to uphold something that includes everyone. The politics of exclusion is always tougher while maintaining the secular image of India, and the present government is discovering that,” replied Gul.
On the work front, Gul’s latest web series “Rangbaaz Phirse” recently started streaming on Zee5 Originals. She was earlier seen in the Amazon Prime show “The Family Man”, and ZEE5 original ‘Raangbaaz Phir Se’.
This year, she also had a cameo in “Student Of The Year 2” and a pivotal role in “Bypass Road”.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)