Anupan Kher leads MarchForIndia against AwardWapasi campaign, “rising intolerance” claims

Countering the AwardWapasi campaign and protests for rising intolerance, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher on Saturday, led a protest march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi claiming the campaign led by artists and writers due to rising intolerance was to defame the country by projecting a wrong picture of the situation.

Many filmmakers and artists joined the march led by Kher. Prominent among those were filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, Ashoke Pandit, Priyadarshan, Manoj Joshi, singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya, actress Raveena Tandon and writer Madhu Kishwar. A memorandum was signed by more than 40 personalities and was handed over to the President by actor Anupam Kher who later met him.

“President Pranab Mukherjee said that awards are not given by the government but by people of the nation. The President also said that our constitution is written on a secular fabric and we should respect that,” Kher told the press after having met the President.

“India is a very tolerant country. Some people have coined the term ‘growing intolerance’. They are very few. Not every Indian thinks like that. We are secular people. We do not believe in pseudo-secularism, selective outrage or selective patriotism,” said Kher, while adding, “We had a meeting with a lot of writers, artistes, filmmakers and they also believe that there is no intolerance in the country… This march is a symbolic gesture on part of a lot of people over here who say India is one and free of intolerance.”

While Madhur Bhandarkar said those protesting have been against the Prime Minister even before he was elected, Priyadarshan called the award returning protest ‘childish’.

“The projection that is happening for the past few days is very sad. The people who were against Modiji during elections are the same people who are coming out right now. The whole projection and narrative that is going abroad is wrong. It is a diverse country and of course there are incidents but we all condemn them. There is no two ways about it,” Madhur Bhandarkar said.

“People returning awards are doing a childish act. They should use the power of pen. Instances of intolerance have always been there. It is not something that happened yesterday. Shah Rukh Khan never said he is returning award.” said Priyadarshan.

(with inputs from PTI)

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