Actor Kangana Ranaut’s Padma Shri should be withdrawn and she should be charged with sedition, several political parties have said in a snowballing controversy over her comment that India won true independence in 2014 – when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power – and the 1947 Independence was “bheekh” or charity.
“The Padma Award given to Ms. Ranaut should be withdrawn immediately. Before giving such awards, mental psychological evaluation should be done so that in future such persons do not disrespect the nation and its heroes,” Anand Sharma, Congress leader, said on Twitter, tagging President Ram Nath Kovind.
Calling Kangana Ranaut’s comments shameful and shocking, Mr Sharma accused her of insulting Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Valabhbhai Patel, besides belittling the sacrifices of freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad.
The Congress has called the comments “treason”.
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik controversially suggested the actor had made the comments under the influence of drugs.
“Looks like Kangana Ranaut took a heavy dose of Malana Cream (a variety of hashish) before making such a statement,” the minister remarked.
“We strongly condemn actress Kangana Ranaut’s statement. She insulted freedom fighters. The Centre must take back the Padma Shri from Kangana Ranaut and arrest her,” said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader.
Many parties have slammed Kangana Ranaut’s remarks at an event organised by television channel Times Now. “That was not freedom but ‘bheekh‘, real freedom came in 2014,” she is heard saying on Independence in 1947.
The 34-year-old actor, who received the Padma Shri earlier this week and has won national awards in the past, has always been vocal about her support for the ruling BJP and has been known to voice her political stand without tempering it.
Yesterday, her comments were denounced by BJP MP Varun Gandhi, who has in recent weeks offered views that are divergent from his own party.
“Insulting the sacrifice of Mahatma Gandhi sometimes, praising his killer (Nathuram Godse) sometimes, and now the disdain for the sacrifices of Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmibai, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and lakhs of freedom fighters. Should I call this thinking madness or treason?” – Varun Gandhi tweeted.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has asked the Mumbai Police to register a case against the actor. AAP leader Preeti Sharma Menon says what she said is “seditious and inflammatory”.
A Shiv Sena leader, Neelam Gorhe, also said the actor must face a sedition case.