Close on the heels of his “anxious about children’s safety” comment, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah is seen in a video released by Amnesty India.
In the video, Shah said, “Those who demand rights are being locked away. Artists, actors scholars, poets are all being stifled. Journalists too are being silenced. In the name of religion, walls of hate are being erected. Innocents are being killed.”
“Had we dreamt of a country where there is no space for dissent? Where only rich and powerful are heard, and where the poorest and most vulnerable are forever oppressed? Where there once was law, there is now only darkness,” the actor said in the video.
He also said, “The country is awash with horrific hatred and cruelty. And those who stand against this injustice are having their office raided, their license canceled, their bank accounts frozen, their voice silenced. Only so that they are deterred from speaking the truth.”
In an interview, Shah said, “I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks, ‘Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ they will have no answer. It worries me that I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon.”
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
This statement evoked reactions from the government as well. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The tolerance that exists in India is unmatched…such tolerance is not found in any corner of the world. Perhaps, India is the only country, where people from all religions co-exist peacefully since ages.”