Updated: August 10, 2021 10:02:41 am
Earlier this year, actor Juhi Chawla left social media abuzz after she filed a lawsuit against the introduction of 5G technology in India. However, the Delhi High Court dismissed the suit and imposed a fine of Rs 20 lakh on her and two other applicants. The development led to netizens accusing the actor of seeking publicity from the lawsuit. After weeks of silence, on Monday, Juhi Chawla opened up about her decade-long campaign to raise awareness about electronic magnetic field radiation or EMF radiation.
Talking to Indian Express about her stance and the support she has received, the actor said, “I feel truly grateful to all the people who are sending their support and encouragement through messages and replies on social media. I am happy that I have been able to present my side of the story, and even more glad that it is being given a wide coverage. I thank all — the media, the fans, and well-wishers who have stood by me through all this. What we put out on video was just a glimpse of the work that my team and myself have done over the last 11 years. Due to the time constraint on social media, we had to squeeze all we could into a 15-minute video. There is a whole lot of correspondence and information which had to be left out.”
Along with the video, Juhi Chawla issued a statement which read, “Whatever transpired in June left me feeling hurt and confused. On one hand, I received some bad press and publicity, on the other, I received heartwarming messages from unknown people telling me they were genuinely and completely in support. One such message was from a group of farmers in Maharashtra that brought tears to my eyes. They wished to carry out a voluntary drive to collect a small sum of money from each of their 10,000 farmer community to help me pay the hefty penalty I had been fined with.”
Chawla added that these experiences make her grateful in life that she lent a voice to the health concerns of many in the country. She further said, “When the storm died down, and I could see more clearly, I became calm and strong because I realised what an important, timely, relevant and impacting question I had raised. Had it not been so, would the world have erupted the way it did?”
She maintained that incidents in her life led her to discover the possible harmful effects of radiation. “I and my team have worked selflessly over these past 11 years to raise awareness on the issue. To look for answers, we approached government institutions, and connected with experts and doctors from all over the world. We helped concerned citizens get rid of mobile towers at handshake distance from their homes. It was all happening as though we were meant to do this. We have no vested interest in this matter. All this makes me feel that though some days it all seemed very dark, there is a silver lining,” she said.
Opening up on why she maintained silence all these days, the actor said, “In June, when the heat was on and the press was going ballistic, the accusations and questions were pouring in, I was bewildered and confused. It was a tough time and even my PR team could not understand why we were not defending ourselves. Time and again, I planned to respond, but something would not work out. I had to remind myself that there is a higher force and it will all happen when the time is right. Well maybe, that time is today. Today we released the video, briefly showcasing our work of 11 years.”
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In the video posted on Instagram with the caption, “It was about time 🙏 I’ll let you decide if it was a publicity stunt”, Juhi Chawla shared that they went to court to certify if 5G technology was safe to use, adding that she is not against technological advancements per se. Juhi said that she had submitted an RTI application in 2019 and 2020, in which she sought answers on the effects of mobile tower radiation on the health of humans and animals. Following her RTI application, she received a response from Science and Engineering Research Board that no such reports are available in the public domain, and no studies have been done specifically on 5G.
Recalling an incident in 2010, Juhi Chawla said that she saw mobile towers near her home on a guest house property. That led her to delve deep into the effects of radiation. “We managed to get an agency from Hyderabad to check the radiation frequency at the house. As I was at home that day, the operator showed me the meter, which was already at the highest level. Once the reports came in, we were told that radiation of such a high level could have ill effects on our health.”
The actor and her neighbour wrote to the RTI and out of 14 mobile towers placed opposite her house, 13 were removed within a few days and were found to be illegally constructed. That’s when they started to help others facing a similar issue. Chawla shared that she also went to the Parliamentary Standing Committee to raise the issue and also approached courts.
Juhi ended the video by asking her followers whether being concerned about living organisms was wrong in any way. Her video ended with a Gautam Buddha quote: “Three things can not hide for long: the moon, the sun and the truth.”
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