Politicians across parties slammed Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut for describing India's freedom in 1947 as 'bheek'.
In a 24-second viral clip, Ranaut can he heard saying that India's freedom in 1947 was not freedom but "bheek". "And we got real freedom in 2014," she said at an event organised by a news channel. Some people in the audience were heard clapping.
Meanwhile, the "Manikarnika" actor, known for her provocative and often inflammatory statements, was once again the centre of debate.
Here's how the politicians reacted:
1. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said her remarks amounted to "treason" and demanded the government take back the Padma Shri bestowed on her recently as she has "insulted" the country's Independence movement. Sharma termed her comments "shocking and outrageous".
"Ms Kangana Ranaut's statement heaping insult on the courageous freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar Patel but also belittling the sacrifices of revolutionaries like Sardar Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad and several others," he said in a series of tweets.
Sharma urged President Ram Nath Kovind to immediately take back the Padma award given to Ranaut.
Psychiatric evaluation should be carried out before giving such awards so that such persons do not dishonour the nation and its heroes, the former Union minister said.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should break his silence and tell the nation if he endorses the views of Ranaut. If not, the government should take appropriate legal action against such people," he added.
2. Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said Ranaut's statement has shown what happens when people who are not deserving of Padma awards are given these honours.
"I demand that Kangana Ranaut should make a public apology to all Indians because of her statement, our freedom movement and our freedom fighters' sacrifice were insulted," Vallabh said.
"The Government of India should take back the prestigious Padma award from such a lady who is insulting Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. If the government is giving her Padma award, it means the government is promoting these kinds of people," Vallabh said.
Asserting that because of her statement, sentiments of families of freedom fighters were hurt, the Congress leader said the government should apologise on behalf of Ranaut as she was a recipient of a Padma award.
What Kangana Ranaut has said is "direct treason", Vallabh said.
3. Delhi BJP leader Praveen Shankar Kapoor
Delhi BJP leader Praveen Shankar Kapoor said Ranaut's remarks are an "insult to the sacrifice of freedom fighters".
"Being the son of a freedom fighter and coming from a family of freedom fighters, I find Kangana Ranaut's remarks that India's freedom was alms (bheekh) as the biggest misuse of freedom and an insult to the sacrifice made by freedom fighters. I wish the judicial system of India takes cognizance," Kapoor said in a tweet in Hindi.
4. Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik
Maharashtra Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik demanded that the Centre must withdraw the Padma Shri award from Ranaut for her controversial remarks and sought her immediate arrest.
Addressing a press conference, NCP leader condemned Ranaut's statement that India got real freedom in 2014 and said it seems the Bollywood actor is on a heavy dose of Malana cream, a particular variety of hashish which grows specifically in Himachal Pradesh.
"We strongly condemn actress Kangana Ranaut's statement. She insulted freedom fighters. The Centre must take back the Padma Shri from Kangana and arrest her. Looks like Kangana Ranaut took a heavy dose of Malana Cream before making such a statement," said Maharastra Minister.
5. BJP leader Varun Gandhi
BJP leader Varun Gandhi also criticised the actor for her comment.
He shared the viral video and said, "Sometimes an insult to Mahatma Gandhi's sacrifice and penance, sometimes respect to his [Mahatma Gandhi's] killer, and now an insult to the sacrifices of lakhs of freedom fighters -- from Shaheed Mangal Pandey to Rani Laxmibai, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and more. Should I call this madness or treason?"
6. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, "Kangana has insulted the nation which is celebrating the 75th Jubilee of Indian Independence this year and must apologise to the whole country".
"She says that India's freedom in 1947 was a 'bheekh' (dole). So does she mean that all the freedom fighters who have been honoured with the 'Tamra Patra' and other awards are beggars? She has defamed and maligned the whole country," Raut said.
6. Tushar Gandhi
Great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar A. Gandhi said that Kangana is "an agent of hate, intolerance and rabidity", so it is not surprising she feels that India got her 'real freedom' in 2014.
"Hatred, bigotry, sham patriotism and oppression were liberated in India in 2014 and a very poisonous and vicious ideology gained dominance, personified by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Tushar Gandhi said without mincing words.
7. Jitan Ram Manjhi
Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi slammed Ranaut and demanded that the Padma Shri conferred upon her be "withdrawn forthwith".
Manjhi, whose party is an alliance partner of the ruling NDA in Bihar, shared his sentiments on his official Twitter handle.
Tagging the President of India, the former Bihar chief minister shared a video footage of the actor at a function organised by a media group where she had said "What we got in 1947 was bheekh (alms given to beggars). We got freedom only in 2014".
"Your excellency @rashtrapatibhvn, the Padma Shri conferred upon Kangana Ranaut should be withdrawn forthwith. Else the world will think that Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Bhagat Singh, Kalam, Mukherjee, Savarkar...all had begged to get freedom", Manjhi tweeted in Hindi.
"Shame on Kangana. All news channels should henceforth boycott her," he posted.
8. Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe
Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said actor Ranaut should face a sedition case for terming India's independence as "alms", and her Padma Shri award should be revoked.
Gorhe, who is Deputy Chairman of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said in a release that the actor made a very "irresponsible, baseless and unhistorical" statement.
She has also insulted all former prime ministers including late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Gorhe said.
"She should be charged with sedition for her comments. Her Padma award should also be revoked," the Shiv Sena leader added.
9. AAP's national executive member Preeti Sharma Menon
The AAP's national executive member Preeti Sharma Menon termed the remarks as "seditious and inflammatory".
The AAP strongly condemns the derogatory statement made by Ranaut- claiming that India's independence of 1947 was "bheek" and not real independence, Menon said in a tweet.
In another tweet, Menon said they have submitted an application to the Mumbai Police, requesting action against Ranaut for her "seditious and inflammatory statements", under Indian Penal Code Sections 504, 505 and 124A.
The Aam Aadmi Party also submitted an application to the Mumbai Police on Thursday, demanding that a case be registered against Ranaut.
(With input from agencies)
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