Govt should end crackdown on free speech, says Naseeruddin Shah in Amnesty campaign video – Times of India

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Govt should end crackdown on free speech, says Naseeruddin Shah in Amnesty campaign video – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Walls of hate has been erected in the name of religion in India and those who are against this “injustice” are punished, actor

Naseeruddin Shah

on Friday

Amnesty India

against alleged government “crackdown” on NGOs.

In the 2.13-minute solidarity video for the human rights watchdog Amnesty, Shah said those who demand rights are being locked up.

“Artists, actors, scholars, poets are all stifled.” Journalists too are being silenced, “he said in the video message.

“In the name of religion, walls of hate are being erected. Innocents are being killed. The country is awash with horrific hatred and cruelty,” he claimed.

He said that those who stand against this “injustice” are having their offices raided, licenses cancelled and bank accounts frozen to silence them so that they are speaking the truth from deterred

“Is this where our country is headed? Had there dream of a country where there is no place for dissent, where only the rich and powerful are the oppressed? Where was the law once, there was now only dark, “he said in the video in Urdu.

Under the hashtag of #AbkiBarManavAdhikaar, The Amnesty claimed India has witnessed a massive crackdown on independence and human rights defenders.

“Let’s stand up for our constitutional values ‚Äč‚Äčthis new year and tell the Indian government that its crackdown must end now,” the Amnesty said.

Aakar Patel, a member of the Amnesty India, said it may seem that the odds are against this time in the human rights defenders and civil society in India, but human rights have always won and this time also.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, as did Dr. Martin Luther King said, but it bends towards justice. The widespread crackdown on civil society organizations and human rights defenders by the government of India must end immediately.”

Shah stoked a controversy last month when he had said that a cow had more significance than that of a police officer.

He was speaking in the wake of a mob violence that broke out in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr on December 3 over the alleged cow slaughter in the Mahaw village. The violence led to two men, including police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh.

“I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks if you are a Hindu or a Muslim, they will have no answer,” Shah said.

Last year, five prominent activists were arrested over their alleged involvement in the violence of Koregaon violence.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in October conducted the two locations of Amnesty International India.

Reacting to Shah’s Friday remarks, human rights activist Annie Raja said what he has said is the reality. “There is no space for dissent. There is no space for even democracy. We can see the proof in form of violence all around us,” Raja said.

Kavita Krishnan, Human Rights activist and the Secretary of the All Progressive Women’s Association, said Shah is “spot-on” in his observation.

“He expressed his concern and I hope people pay attention to it. The world also needs to know what is happening and wake up to the world,” she said.

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