Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday urging him to withdraw the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, bestowed on actor Kangana Ranaut for her remarks allegedly belittling the country’s Independence.
Ranaut on Thursday had kicked off a row by saying India attained “real freedom” in 2014, apparently referring to the Narendra Modi-led government assuming power, and describing the country’s Independence in 1947 as “bheek” (alms).
Maliwal, in her letter, said the actor had ”made certain outrageous statements disgracing the great freedom fighters of the country”.
The DCW chief also demanded sedition charges against the ‘Queen’ actor. “These statements reflect her hatred for our great freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, and countless others who laid down their lives for the nation! We all know that our nation got its Independence from British rule through ultimate sacrifices and martyrdom of our great freedom fighters,” she wrote.
Highlighting that Ranaut’s statements have hurt the sentiments of millions of Indians and are “seditious” in nature, she urged the president to “kindly take cognizance of the matter and withdraw the Padma Shri honour bestowed upon Ms Ranaut”.
“I also request you to kindly ensure that an FIR is registered against her on charges of sedition. I hope that you will uphold the sentiments of crores of Indians and do the needful in the matter,” Maliwal stressed.
The DCW chief said Ranaut, “through her insensitive and thoughtless lies”, had demeaned and belittled ”the sacrifices of millions of Indians who participated” in various movements such as the revolt of 1857, the Champaran Satyagrah, the Khilafat Movement, the Quit India Movement, the Dandi March and the Non-Cooperation Movement among several others.
“How can we forget the thousands who had assembled at the Jallianwala Bagh to protest against British rule and the massacre that followed? Are these chapters in our history a ‘bheek’?” Maliwal sought to know.
She also pointed out that it was not a stray incident by the actor and that “Ranaut appears to not be of sound mind”.
“She habitually spews venom against people of her own country and has repeatedly used vile language to attack those she does not agree with. Her behaviour is in no way befitting of the recipient of the highest award in the country and is also an insult to the stalwarts who received the award with and before her,” Maliwal added.
Ranaut was recently awarded the Padma Shri.