Deepika Padukone triggers boycott calls following her JNU protest presence

Deepika Padukone triggers boycott calls following her JNU protest presence

– Globally acclaimed Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone made a surprise appearance at Jawaharlal Nehru University to stage the protest with students against the recent brutality exercised on campus, but was subjected to sharp criticism.

According to India Today, Deepika Padukone’s surprise appearance at the JNU protest - it was the first by a Bollywood star at the campus - firmly kept the spotlight on the ongoing protest by JNU student leaders who had been assaulted by masked goons on Sunday evening.

She had spoken out against the violence at JNU a day earlier. “I feel angry that this is happening but at the same time the fact that action has not been taken, this is what one needs to think about it,” she told news channel in an interview.

On the recent developments and protests at universities across the country over the citizenship law and the proposed citizens’ list, Padukone also said the recent developments at universities had pained her. “What I am seeing, it pains me because I hope this doesn’t become the new normal that anyone can say anything and get away with it. It is scary and pains as well,” she said.

At JNU on Tuesday, Padukone did not address the gathering of scores of students who had gathered at the university Her presence was the message.

She did share the stage with former and present JNU students’ union leaders including Kanhaiya Kumar as protesters raised slogans. She also spoke with JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who was also beaten in Sunday evening’s violence.

In some ways, Ghosh has become the face of the victims of Sunday evening’s violence, especially after photographs emerged of blood streaming down her face. In all, 34 students were hurt in the violence that has triggered protests across 30 cities.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga reacted within minutes on Twitter. “RT if you will Boycott Movies of @deepikapadukone for her Support to #TukdeTukdeGang and Afzal Gang,” he said to his followers. In an hour, he had 11,000 retweets.

BJP’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma also tweeted on Deepika Padukone’s visit. “I usually avoid tweeting to Bollywood but if this is your bid to sell a movie on a woman’s fight by sharing stage with somebody penalised for sexual misconduct (he flashed himself to a woman student at JNU in 2015) then it defeats the very purpose!” she tweeted.

Indu Tiwari, the BJP’s Jabalpur legislator, on the other end, saw her trip to JNU as a ploy to drive ticket sales of her upcoming movie, Chhapaak.

But brickbats weren’t all that came her way. JNU alumnus and actor Swara Bhasker, who frequently speaks out on issues related to her alma mater and has played a key role in mobilising celebrities from Bollywood, cheered her.

Some Bollywood celebrities such as directors Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and actors Taapsee Pannu and Richa Chadha had associated themselves with the protest at Mumbai’s Carter Road on Monday to express solidarity with those protesting against the violence at the JNU.

Deepika Padukone has been in the national capital for the last two days as she promotes her upcoming film Chhapaak.