Indian-American actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who is also a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, took to her official Twitter handle on Thursday in support of protesting students saying, “We have raised them to have a voice”.
India’s federal government enforced the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act last week, granting Indian nationality to persecuted Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Parsis from neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh – who illegally entered the country before 2015. The law, however, does not grant citizenship to Muslims from these three neighbouring countries, something which has angered students, Muslims and several opposition political parties, who hold it as a violation of the country’s Constitution.
Protests against the new act have been going on across the country, and adding to public anger was the use of force by Delhi Police against student protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia, a premier university in the national capital. The police used several dozen teargas shells and cane-charged the protesting students on Sunday 15 December, even those who were reading in the university library. In the clash that ensued, about 100 students and 35 police personnel were injured.
Shocked at the ongoings, along with Priyanka, several other Bollywood celebrities have raised their voices against the way the extremely sensitive national situation is being dealt with. They include, Sonakshi Sinha, Parineeti Chopra, Rajkummar Rao, Varun Dhawan, Dia Mirza, Sidharth Malhotra, Vicky Kaushal and Ayushmann Khurrana.
If this is what’s gonna happen everytime a citizen expresses their view, forget #CAB, we should pass a bill and not call our country a democracy anymore! Beating up innocent human beings for speaking their mind? BARBARIC.— Parineeti Chopra (@ParineetiChopra) December 17, 2019
I strongly condemn the violence that the police have shown in dealing with the students. In a democracy the citizens have the right to peacefully protest.I also condemn any kind of act of destruction of the public properties. Violence is not the solution for anything!— Rajkummar Rao (@RajkummarRao) December 16, 2019
I stand in solidarity with the students of India. pic.twitter.com/OCl8gH276B— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) December 16, 2019
My heart goes out to all the students back home in Delhi. In a democracy like ours, its sad to see violence against citizens for voicing their opinion through peaceful protests. There should be no place for violence of any form & intent in our country. I strongly condemn this act— Sidharth Malhotra (@SidMalhotra) December 16, 2019
What is happening is not okay. The way it’s happening is not okay. People have every right to peacefully voice their opinion. This violence and disruption is both saddening and concerning as a fellow citizen. In no circumstance, must our faith in democracy be shaken. 🇮🇳— Vicky Kaushal (@vickykaushal09) December 16, 2019
As of now, protests do not appear to be abating. Although the unrest started in the northeastern region of India, it spread to other parts like wildfire, with authorities issuing prohibitory orders and suspending internet services to contain the situation.