Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Sunday came out in support of Naseeruddin Shah, who recently stoked a controversy with his remark on mob violence and appeared in a video for the Amnesty India against alleged government crackdown on NGOs, and said attempts were being made to “disturb” the actor.
In a 2.13-minute solidarity video for the human rights watchdog Amnesty, Shah had said on Friday that those who demand rights are being locked up. Asked by reporters on the veteran actor’s comments, Sen said, “We must protest against such attempts to disturb the actor… What has been happening (in the country) is objectionable. It should stop.”
The 85-year-old economist said many institutions in the country are under attack, and their freedom is being encroached. “Even journalists are facing harassment”. About troll attacks against personalities like Shah, he said, “Losing the ability to tolerate others is a serious cause for concern, it points to the losing of ability to think and analyse.”
Under the hashtag #AbkiBaarManavAdhikaar, the Amnesty had claimed that India has witnessed a massive crackdown on freedom of expression and human rights defenders.
In 2018, India witnessed a massive crackdown on freedom of expression and human rights defenders. Let’s stand up for our constitutional values this new year and tell the Indian government that its crackdown must end now. #AbkiBaarManavAdhikaar pic.twitter.com/e7YSIyLAfm
— Amnesty India (@AIIndia) January 4, 2019
In his solidarity messsage in Urdu, Shah had said, “Artistes, actors, scholars, poets are all being stifled. Journalists too are being silenced. “In the name of religion, walls of hatred are being erected. Innocents are being killed. The country is awash with horrific hatred and cruelty.”
Last month, the 68-year-old had said the death of a cow had acquired more significance than that of a police officer in the country.
He was speaking in the wake of a mob violence that broke out in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr on December 3 over alleged cow slaughter in the Mahaw village. The violence led to the death of two men, including a police inspector.
The National Award-winning actor’s visit to a literary fest in December was also cancelled following protests by Hindu outfits ober his comments on mob violence.