Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal on Sunday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind requesting him to take back the Padma Shree, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, given to actor Kangana Ranaut. The 34-year-old actor was awarded the Padma Shree on Monday.
Maliwal made the request in relation to Ranaut’s recent comment that India attained freedom in 2014 and what the country got in 1947 was charity.
“It wasn’t azaadi [freedom] but bheek [alms], and the freedom came in 2014,” she had said on Wednesday at the Times Now Summit.
Ranaut’s comment was an apparent reference to the year in which the Bharatiya Janata Party was elected to power. She is an ardent supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party.
“Kangana Ranaut is such a woman who mocks the martyrdom of Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and considers charity the freedom achieved by the sacrifice of millions of people,” Maliwal said in a tweet on Sunday. “She needs treatment, not a reward!”
In her letter to the president, Maliwal said that the actor’s statement has hurt millions of people and that they are seditious in nature.
“The revolt of 1857, the Champaran Satyagraha, the Khilafat movement, the Quit India movement, the Dandi march, the non cooperation movement and countless other protests and the sacrifices of the millions who participated in the same have been demeaned and belittled by Ms Ranaut through her insensitive and thoughtless lies,” Maliwal wrote.
She asked: “How can we forget the thousands who had assembled in the Jalianwalla Bagh to protest the British rule and the massacre that followed? Are these chapters in our history a ‘bheekh’?”
Maliwal also request the president to ensure that a first information report is registered against her for sedition.
“Her behaviour is in no way befitting of the recipient of the highest award in the country and is also an insult to the stalwarts who received the award with and before her,” she said.
Criticism of Ranaut’s comments
On Thursday, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor had said that the comments were an insult to freedom fighters and wished that the judicial system of India take cognisance of her comment. However, he had told PTI on Friday that he posted his tweet in his personal capacity.
On Friday, Times Now too had said it did not support the actor’s comment.
Congress leader Anand Sharma, Aam Aadmi Party leader Preeti Sharma Menon and several others had demanded that her Padma award be taken back.
Ranaut has made several other controversial statements earlier too. Currently, she is facing a defamation case filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar for her comments about him.
In May, social media company Twitter had permanently suspended her account on the platform. A Twitter spokesperson had then said that Ranaut repeatedly violated the company’s policy on “hateful conduct and abusive behaviour”.