Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut on Saturday defended her sister Rangoli Chandel for a tweet that called for “mullas” and “secular media” to be shot dead. Twitter suspended the account of Chandel, who is also Ranaut’s manager, after she posted the message on April 15.
The tweet was reported as hate speech by several users of the social media platform. In a nearly two-minute video posted on the Times of India newspaper’s Twitter account, Ranaut singled out jewellery designer Farah Ali Khan and director Reema Kagti for being among the people who had complained about Chandel.
“My sister Rangoli Chandel tweeted specifically said that the people who are attacking doctors and medical health professionals should be shot,” Ranaut began the video by saying. “However, Farah Ali Khan, who is Susanne Roshan’s sister, and Reema Kagti, the well-known filmmaker, falsely claimed that Rangoli had asked for Muslim genocide. If you can find such a tweet, Rangoli and I will apologise. We don’t believe that every Muslim is a terrorist, or that every Muslim is attacking doctors.”
Ranaut also attacked Twitter, asking the Central government to shut down a social media platform that “makes crores of money from Indians and yet damages our reputations”. It was a shame, she said, that “people can attack people like the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, and social welfare organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh” and that they can be “called terrorists, but if you can’t call actual terrorists terrorists”.
Ranaut added, “Such platforms should be shut down. We have to find a way to completely demolish these platforms and start our own platforms.”
Ranaut also jumped to the defence of wrestler and Bharatiya Janata Party member Babita Phogat, who was criticised for tweeting that the novel coronavirus was the second-biggest problem in the country after “uncivilised Jamaati”. This was a reference to a meeting of the Tabligh Jamat, a Muslim organisation, held in Delhi early in May at which several attendees contracted the coronavius, spreading it across India as they returned home.
Phogat tweeted in Chandel’s support on Thursday and posted a video on Friday claiming that she had been receiving death threats after her remarks.
“I appeal to the Centre to protect nationalists who are being harassed and oppressed,” Ranaut said. “If anything happens to Babita, no other nationalistic persons will dare raise their voices. I demand that she be given protection.”
Ranaut ended her message with a smile and the words, “Happy lockdown!”