Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone on Tuesday visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi to express solidarity with the students who were attacked by a masked mob on Sunday, PTI reported. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has been accused of carrying out the attack.
The actor reached the university campus around 7.40 pm and attended a public meeting, called by JNU Teachers’ Association and the JNU Students’ Union. Padukone stood by as former JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar raised “azaadi” slogans, and also met current president Aishe Ghosh, ANI reported. Ghosh was one of the 34 people injured in Sunday’s attack.
However, Padukone did not address the crowd. Responding to her silence, Ghosh said: “When you are in a position, you should speak up.”
JNU Teachers’ Association Secretary Surajit Majumdar said the actor came to express solidarity with the students. Padukone was in Delhi to promote her upcoming film Chhapaak.
On Monday, the 34-year-old actor had told NDTV that she was proud that people had come out to protest, and were not scared. “I feel proud that we are not scared. I think to be able to express ourselves,” she said. “I think the fact we are thinking about this and about the future of our country...it is nice to see people are coming out on the streets to voice this and express. Because if we want to see change, this is very important.”
Earlier on Tuesday, 8,747 persons, including filmmakers and actors, expressed solidarity with the students and faculty of JNU, in a statement. The signatories noted the sequence of events that occurred on Sunday following the violence and said that they were forced to conclude that the university’s administration and Delhi Police “were complicit in facilitating the attack”. They called for the resignations of Registrar Pramod Kumar and Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar.
On Monday, directors Anurag Kashyap, Anubhav Sinha and Zoya Akhtar, and actors Taapsee Pannu, Dia Mirza and Rahul Bose had joined a protest at Carter Road in Mumbai. Protests have also been held at many college campuses around the country.