December 17, 2019 11:46:27 pm
We have hit rock bottom. The only way is up,” said actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, on the recent violence at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia. “I grew up here. I was very concerned with the messages and calls that I got from the residents of Jamia, and I had to get down here. I was not sure about what I could do, or if I would be of any help at all, but I had to be here,” says the actor, who grew up in Okhla, and has been in Delhi for the last couple of days.
Ayyub is not alone. There has been a spate of actors that has expressed concerns for the University and its students. “I think the incident of the police ravaging the library and attacking innocent students is what made everyone speak up. This was unprecedented and it shook up people. We are seeing a lot of people who are coming out and breaking their silence. I think public opinion has shifted, and they want their celebrities to be accountable too,” said Ayyub, who also addressed a press conference at the Press Club of India in the Capital on Tuesday.
The actor feels that this is the time to come out on the streets, and social media activism doesn’t really cut it. “The incident in Jamia and even earlier in JNU, is not just about the students or the university. It’s a larger statement from the government. They want to send out a message. Just like JNU has the tag of Left and liberal attached to it, and obviously the government is trying to suppress all dissent, Jamia has the word minority attached to it, and they want to make an example of it,” stressed Ayyub.
The expression of concern has also come from other members of the film fraternity. Kapoor & Sons actor Siddharth Malhotra said in his tweet that “…In a democracy like ours, it’s sad to see violence against citizens for voicing their opinion through peaceful protests… I strongly condemn this act.” Actor Renuka Shahane responded to PM Modi’s tweet about maintaining peace on Twitter. “Sir, please ask people to stay away from all your IT cell Twitter handles then…”.
Actor Huma Qureshi tagged PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah asking about citizens’ rights to protest. “…Citizens have the right to peacefully protest. Or that is not an option anymore??…,” she tweeted. Actor Manoj Bajpayee, too, condemned the violence against the students. “…With the students and their democratic rights to protest! I condemn violence against protesting students!!!” Filmmaker and music composer Vishal Bhardwaj shared an excerpt from Hindi poet Dushyant Singh’s famed poem Ho gayi hai peer parvat si and tweeted, “My heart pains for the students of Jamia. Don’t be silent. Don’t be violent,” he tweeted.
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