NEW DELHI — Top Bollywood Actor Deepika Padukone made a surprising appearance at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Campus on Tuesday evening reportedly to express her solidarity with the student protestors who were attacked by masked vandals on Sunday night.
Though Padukone, who spent around 15 minutes on the campus, did not formally address the students or speak to media, the visuals that emerged from the varsity showed her standing alongside a group of students lead by Ashi Gosh, the president of student union who was injured after she was injured on the head by rods during violence by the masked assailants blamed to be associated with the ABVP, the student wing of ruling party, the BJP.
The attack has evoked widespread condemnation and students from across the country have held protest demonstrations even as the police is yet to arrest any of the perpetrators.
Padukone’s visit was lauded by many and termed it significant given that the attack on students came in the backdrop of country wide anti-government mass protests lead by students against the controversial ‘anti-Muslim’ Citizenship Amendment Act.
Very few celebrities have spoken up on new Citizenship Act and the loss of life of many in the police crackdown in UP during anti-CAA protests. Over 20 people have been shot dead by police in various towns in the state of Uttar Pradesh under the watch of rightwing Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath causing massive outrage in country and abroad.
However, people have raised question over why the top layer of Bollywood have maintained silence. It is perhaps why Padukone’s appearance in the campus to show her support to the students was welcomed by most.
People took to social media to share the pictures of her presence in the campus alongside the protesting students.
Swara Bhasker, the feisty Bollywood actor who is at the forefront of campaign against issues like CAA, was quick to tweet praising Padukone.
Good on you @deepikapadukone 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) January 7, 2020
Journalist Neha Dixit pointed out that Padukone’s visit is a lesson for other popular figures how to use privilege to draw attention towards pressing issues.
As a producer of a film two days away from release, @deepikapadukone shows all #BollywoodKeBekaarBuddhe how to put privilege to use. A reminder that students are risking far more than any billionaire who is scared to lose by speaking up, standing in solidarity. #chapaak https://t.co/dWPzb2SrGr
— Neha Dixit (@nehadixit123) January 7, 2020
The supporters of the ruling party seemed to be riled up by padukone’s public display of support to the protesting students. BJP spokesperson Tajendra Bagga asked his followers to share his tweet calling for boycotting Padukone’s upcoming movie Chhapaak themed around struggle of acid attack survivors.
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) January 7, 2020
In another tweet Bagga appealed people to watch Ajay Devgan starring Tanhaji, a movie expected to be released next week based on a 17th-century Maharashtrian Marathi military leader.