Anyone who criticizes the government is branded as an anti-national, said veteran actor Shabana Azmi on Saturday at an event here after she was honoured with 'Kunti Mathur Award' instituted by the Anandmohan Mathur Charitable Trust to recognise her work for women.
"It is always necessary that we point out our flaws for the betterment of our country. If we do not, how can our conditions improve? But the atmosphere is such that if we criticise the government we are branded as anti-nationals. We should not be afraid, nobody needs their certificate," Azmi said without naming any political party.
"We have grown up in 'Ganga-Jamuni' (composite) culture. We should fight the situation and not kneel before it. India is a beautiful country. Any attempt to divide people cannot be good for this country," she said.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and his wife Amrita Sigh were also present at the event where Azmi spoke.
Criticising Malegaon blast accused and BJP's Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur, Congress leader Singh said, "Today the person who killed Mahatma Gandhi is being hailed as a patriot. There are reports that Nathuram Godse's statue is being constructed, can we not raise our voice against this?" Singh was defeated by Thakur in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
He said fake news has become a bigger threat than terrorism and there is an environment of hostility and hatred. The Congress leader also hit out at MLA Akash Vijayvargia for attacking a municipal corporation officer with a bat. "Akash's father (Kailash Vijayvargiya) shows a shoe while his son shows a bat," he said.
Meanwhile, Keshav Prasad Maurya responded to Shabana Azmi's statement that whosoever criticises the government is branded as anti-national.
"I don't want to comment on Shabana Azmi. However, she is not a representative of 130 crore people of the country. The country is moving ahead under the stewardship of (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (UP CM) Yogi Adityanath," he said.