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Akhtar turns ‘nationalist’ while defending Chopra on Kashmir

Akhtar said, I know Priyanka Chopra personally she is a cultured, decent and educated person and the fact remains she is an Indian

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Kolkata: Bollywood, known to make Indians cringe more often than not with its stand against nationalism, threw up a surprise on Wednesday. Lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar has said, being an Indian citizen, Priyanka Chopra holds a view that supports the Union government’s recent decision on Jammu-Kashmir. It will “obviously be an Indian point of view”, he said.

Akhtar was commenting on a Pakistani minister’s demand for the removal of Chopra as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace, accusing her of supporting the Indian government’s decision on Jammu-Kashmir. “If her comments have upset the Pakistani establishment, they can do whatever they wish,” Akhtar told the reporters on the sidelines of a literary event here on Wednesday night.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories.

In a letter, addressed to UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H Fore, Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari had said the Bollywood actress supported the Indian government’s policies on Jammu-Kashmir. She further alleged that Chopra was in favour of a “nuclear war” between India and Pakistan! “Ms Chopra has publicly endorsed this Indian government position and also supported the nuclear threat issued to Pakistan by the Indian Defence Minister. All this goes completely against the principles of peace and goodwill that Ms Chopra is supposed to uphold as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace,” Mazari wrote in the letter.

Speaking about the actress, Akhtar said, “I know Priyanka Chopra personally. She is a cultured, decent and educated person and the fact remains she is an Indian. If there is some kind of controversy and difference in point of view between an average Indian citizen (like Priyanka Chopra) and the Pakistani establishment, obviously her point of view will be an Indian point of view.”

To another question, Akhtar said, while he was trolled almost every day on social media, “for the last two-three days there are a lot of hate messages because I have made my comment and aired my point of view on Imran Khan’s tweet and some people are upset with me.” He said when “religious bigots” of both communities abuse him, he is convinced that what he says is right.

“The day one of them will stop abusing me, I will wonder what is wrong with me,” Akhtar commented. He had recently tweeted, “Imraan saheb. I will be ungrateful if I don’t show my gratitude for your concern about the Indian minorities. I can’t imagine, if you care so much for others how compassionate n protective you must be towards the Hindus, Christians, Ahmadiyas, Mohajir n Blochs of your own country.”

As his tweet invited a vicious attack on the micro-blogging site on Wednesday, Akhtar had replied, “… I am a secular rationalist Nationalist proud Indian who is inconvenient to both Hindu and Muslim communalists.”

Asked to comment on the present situation in the Kashmir Valley, Akhtar said, I am not aware what is going on. As a matter of fact, most of us don’t know because there is hardly any information available. We are yet to get details.”We know that there was some curfew, there were some restrictions, so on and so forth,” Akhtar said.

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