Updated: September 8, 2021 10:40:08 am
Over 150 eminent citizens from various walks of life on Tuesday came out in support of poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar and actor Naseeruddin Shah with a statement condemning attempts by the Sangh Parivar to intimidate Akhtar and similar attempts made by sections of the Muslim community against Shah.
“We… support unequivocally the recent interview given by author and poet, Javed Akhtar to the media in the context of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan. We strongly condemn attempts to intimidate him and affirm his right to speak his views. We strongly disagree with those in the Sangh Parivar, led by a BJP MLA and other elements from the same wider parivar who have objected to the understanding of right wing supremacists, be it of the Muslim or Hindu kind,” the signatories said.
The statement added that it was “not insignificant that around the same time as the venal reactions to the interview by Javed Akhtar, sections of the Muslim community have raised similar objections to recent comments by actor Naseeruddin Shah…(who) is only re-iterating the long, vibrant and tolerant tradition of Indian Islam that has been in recent decades afflicted by the Saudi-exported Wahhabi Islam, a trend that large sections of Indian Muslims recognise and also deplore”.
Among the signatories are former Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, child rights activist Cedric Prakash, philanthropist Cyrus Guzder, actor-director M K Raina, historian Sohail Hashmi, Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi, former IIT professor Dr Ram Puniyani and retired DGP B Sreekumar.
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