Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Sunday called actor Shabana Azmi the “new leader of tukde tukde and award wapsi gang”, two days after the actor’s comments on criticising the government on Saturday. Azmi had said that it was imperative to point out flaws of one’s own country so that it can help in bringing reform.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have earlier also called their opponents or those who oppose them members of a “tukde tukde” gang, or a group of people deliberately trying to divide India.

The actor, who has received mixed responses on social media because of her remarks, quoted couplets from a poem by Faiz Ahmad Faiz on Monday. “Bol ke lab Aazaad hain tere, Bol zabaan ab tak teri hai... Bol ke sach zinda hai ab tak, Bol jo kuch kehna hai keh ley (Speak, your lips are free. Speak, your tongue is still yours. Speak as truth is still alive, so say what you would like to),” she said.

At an event in Indore, Madhya Pradesh on July 6, Azmi had said that any attempt to divide the people was not good for the country. “It is always necessary that we point out flaws for the betterment of our country,” she had said. “If we do not, how will we bring improvement? But an atmosphere is building in which if we criticise the government, we are called anti-nationals. We should not be afraid, nobody needs their certificate.”