As a massive controversy broke out after Deepika Padukone's visit to JNU, two days before the release of her film 'Chhapaak', as a mark of showing solidarity to JNU students attacked by masked goons on January 5, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday has said that the actress has a right to do what she did, and put the onus on her knowing what it represented.
Amid her take, she spoke about how Deepika Padukone's political affiliation has been known from much earlier, likely referring to a clip of a 2011 TV interview that has gone viral in which Deepika Padukone had backed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the Prime Minister's post. Irani, who memorably defeated Rahul Gandhi in his bastion Amethi, said that everyone knows where her allegiance lies.
Deepika Padukone on Tuesday evening reached the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Campus in Delhi to extend her support to students after the violent attack on Sunday night. She was present at the campus for seven minutes during which former student union president Kanhaiya Kumar raised slogans - so much so that Kanhaiya later claimed he was so busy sloganeering that he didn't notice Padukone there.
Irani's remark on the actress came as she had told a news channel in 2011 that she hopes that Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi will become a Prime Minister one day. She had said, "I don't know much about politics. But from whatever I see on TV, whatever Rahul Gandhi is doing makes him a classical example for the youth. Hopefully, he will be Prime Minister one day."
It was not unexpected to us that she was going to stand with people who want the destruction of India. She sided with people who hit girls on their private parts with lathis. I can't deny her that right. I think we should decide which side you want to stand. Do you want to stand with people who wanted destruction of India? Everytime a CRPF jawan is killed, they celebrate. She made her political affiliation known in 2011 that she supports the Congress Party. If people are surprised by this, it is because they didn't know. There were a lot of admirers of hers who have just discovered her position. As far as Deepika goes, I rather know where she stands. Stand. Stand next to people who said, 'Bharat Tere Tukde Honge'
On Sunday evening, JNU students were attacked by masked goons. As many as said 50-odd attackers entered the campus and went on a rampage, attacking people and vandalising cars. JNU students union president Aishe Ghosh, was severely injured. The ABVP alleged that their leaders have also been attacked and their presidential candidate Manish Jangid was beaten up. Releasing a statement, Ashutosh Singh of ABVP alleged that they have been attacked by students affiliated to leftist student organizations. Later, a video also surfaced where Ghosh was seen leading a group of masked men, throwing her involvement in doubt.
The attack comes against the backdrop of JNU students' months-long protest against the Draft Hostel Manual which was approved by the Inter-Hall Administration. They claim that the manual has provisions for fee hike, curfew timings and dress code restrictions for students. They have said they will not end the strike till the complete rollback of the Hostel Manual. It is said that after the fee hike is implemented, JNU will be the most expensive Central University.
Earlier on Thursday, JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said that administration has formed a five-member committee to probe the January 5 violence on the campus that had left around 35 people injured. He stated that he has recommended measures to ensure the safety of students. The panel will also probe lapses, if any, insecurity, Kumar told PTI.