Last year, Naseeruddin Shah had stirred a furore when in a TV interview in reference to the Bulandsheher incident he said that the death of a cow was being given more importance than the death of a police officer. Today, Shah asserted in an interview that he stands by the remarks made by him then and that open hatred is still pervasive in the country.
“I have never had any close relationship with the film industry and fraternity in any case. I don’t know whether it has affected my standing or not because I don’t often get offered work very much. I endured a lot of abuse by people, who have nothing better to do, but it doesn’t affect me at all. What is disturbing is the open hate. What I felt I said and I stand by it,” Shah said.
Besides, Shah also voiced his opinion on the complaint filed against 49 celebrities for being signatories to an open letter written to PM Modi. On Monday, a new letter was issued by 180 people including Naseeruddin Shah and historian Romila Thapar asking how writing an open letter to the Prime Minister can be treasonous. It is noteworthy to mention that the Bihar police had dismissed the FIR filed against 49 celebrities and booked the complainant for filing a ‘false’ case. The complainant was an advocate and the Modi government had nothing to do with the complaint filed against the individuals.
In December 2018, violence erupted in the Bulandshahr town of Uttar Pradesh after locals found carcasses of cows hanging in their locality. Things took a violent turn after the police opened fire at the protesters. It is claimed that the police was forced to open fire after the protesters attacked them with stones. In the chaos, inspector Subodh Kumar Singh lost his life. A youth, Sumit, too, succumbed to injuries. Citing this incident, Shah indulged in fear-mongering saying that he is concerned about the lives of his children in the country where a cow was given more importance than the life of a police officer.
A few days later, Shah collaborated with Amnesty International to depict that the country is in the throes of an unprecedented constitutional crisis with the civil rights of people trampled upon and their liberties curtailed. A video was posted in which Naseeruddin Shah was seen portraying India in a bad light and raising false alarms against the purported deterioration of law and order in the country.
The video starring Naseeruddin Shah painted a gloomy picture of the country in which people’s Freedom of Expression is curtailed, poor people are subjugated by the rich and powerful, those who speak out the truth are suppressed, journalists gagged. The video essentially wanted to show that the establishment in the country is bent on violating the rights of the people and organisations and coercing them to toe the government’s line.
Shah has never shied away from exhibiting his left-liberal tendencies. Last year, he sided with the liberals in portraying a dim view of the country months before the General elections. This time around too, just a few days before the all-important assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, Shah has not hesitated from extending his verbal support to the liberals. Enunciating the liberal standpoint, he maintained that the situation in the country remains volatile and disturbing and that the society is marred with ‘open hatred’.