The much-debated Citizenship Amendment Act became a talking point at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Thursday with Bollywood actress and director Nandita Das opposing it. She urged people to raise their voice against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens.
Addressing the media in the inaugural day of the Festival, she said: "India is a secular country, but it is happening for the first time when the people are being asked to be identified in the name of religion."
The nation, she said, faces many challenges today, from high levels of unemployment to difficult financial conditions.
"In our country where today the economic meltdown is taking place, unemployment is at the rise, there are problems of education and healthcare and you are asking people to prove that they are Indians?" said Das.
"You are telling people who have been here for the past four generations you are telling them that this is not their country? Then this is very upsetting. I think everyone should speak up against this," the 50-year-old filmmaker added.
"The way spontaneous protests have taken place everywhere, every place is becoming Shaheen Bagh now, since so many people have taken to the streets. So, I feel that every person as a citizen should speak up against this and should keep the foundation and values of this country intact," said Das during a media interaction on the first day of the literary festival.
However, Das remained tight-lipped over a war of words between Bollywood actors Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah.
To recapitulate, Naseeruddin Shah had recently called fellow actor Anupam Kher, who has been "very vocal" in his support to Bharatiya Janata Party and its policies, a clown.
Kher responded by stating in a Twitter video that Shah has lived his entire life in frustration, in spite of tasting huge success.
Terming the relationship between NRC and Citizenship act as dangerous, Nandita Das said that this is the first time that people from the film community are being associated with the issue.
"For the first time people from the film community are being associated with it. People as human being are coming out. People from the mainstream as well as from every cinema have spoken against the dangerous relationship of CAA and NRC," the 'Manto' director told reporters.
The cinema personality who has been associated with the Jaipur Literature Festival for the last five years presented her book 'Manto and I' at the festival. The book features Das's journey into bringing the character of legendary writer 'Saadat Hasan Manto' alive in her critically acclaimed film 'Manto'.
(With inputs from agencies)