ZAIRA WASIM, the 16-year-old Kashmiri star of the movie Dangal, posted an apology on Facebook Monday after she was heavily trolled on social media for meeting J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti two days ago. In a second post Monday, Zaira said she had not been “forced” by anyone to apologise. “Hopefully this post just stops this once and for all,” she wrote. Later, she deleted both the posts.
WATCH VIDEO | `Dangal` Actress Zaira Wasim Apologises For Meeting Mehbooba Mufti, Later Deletes Post
Ever since she met Mehbooba Saturday, Zaira, who played the role of wrestler Geeta Phogat as a child, had been the target of vicious comments on social media, including by a Facebook user who accused her of posing with “the one who destroyed the future of thousands of Kashmiris” and another who criticised her for the “unIslamic” act of acting in a Bollywood movie.
The posts also triggered a political war of words in the state, with the Congress accusing the Chief Minister of trying to “gain political mileage” from Zaira’s popularity and the ruling PDP hitting back by saying that the criticism “berates every achievement of every Kashmiri”.
Zaira is a resident of Hawal in old Srinagar, the hotbed of separatist politics, and is the daughter of Zahid Wasim, an engineer, and Zarka, a teacher. She completed Class 10 last week at the St Paul International Academy in Sonawar, where casting directors for the Aamir Khan-starrer turned up for auditions last year.
In her first Facebook post, Zaira also appeared to refer to the unrest in the Valley over the last year.
”This is an open confession/apology. I know that many people have been offended and displeased by my recent actions or by the people I have recently met. I want to apologise to all those people who I’ve unintentionally hurt and I want them to know that I understand their sentiments behind it especially considering that what had happened over the past 6 months,” she wrote.
WATCH VIDEO | Dangal Girl Zaira Wasim Posts Apology On Facebook Without Saying What It Is For
”I hope people can also understand there are certain circumstances that emerge which one cannot control and I hope people still remember that I’m a just a 16 year old girl and I hope you treat me accordingly,” wrote Zaira, adding, “I’m sorry for what I did but it was not a deliberate decision and I really hope people can forgive me.”
In her second post, Zaira wrote that she had “no idea why this has become such a big issue”.
”I just wanted to make sure that I did not hurt anyone’s feelings and all of a sudden it has been turned into national news. Again and again I am telling people that I have not been forced into anything by anyone,” she wrote.
Reacting to the posts, senior PDP leader and Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar said, “It is sad. It (the criticism of Zaira for meeting Mehbooba) berates every achievement of every Kashmiri… this is representative of a highly negative thinking, which has taken its toll on the cosmopolitan character of Kashmir and is creating roadblocks in the revival of our tradition.” The Congress, however, accused the Chief Minister of politicising the issue. “From the first day, when there were comments made against the girl on social networking sites, we said that the Chief Minister shouldn’t have done this,” said Congress state president G A Mir.
WATCH VIDEO | Dangal Actress Zaira Wasim Dreams Of A Safe Society For Women
”The girl was selected on her own talent and there was no role of the government in it. The Chief Minister, instead of gaining political mileage by shooting photographs with the girl, could have sent a silent appreciation letter, which would have helped her. She has been used,” alleged Mir.
Zaira, however, received strong support from NC chief and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who tweeted: “A 16 year old shouldn’t be forced to apologise & that too allegedly for meeting @MehboobaMufti. What are we coming to!!!!!.”