New Delhi: The ‘award wapsi’ fiasco escalated to new heights with Anupam Kher giving a clarion call to uphold the fabric of secularism through his anti-award wapsi march from the National Museum to Rashtrapati Bhavan today.
The star-studded rally which included at least 30 top actors, writers and poets, marched to submit a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee urging him not to accept the returned awards.
Lambasting a media report which branded India as an ‘intolerable’ country, Anupam Kher stated, “no foreign country has the right to call India ‘intolerant’.”
“It is the people of India who are sending the wrong message”, lamented Kher.
“There was no sign of religious intolerance in India, award wapsi has overhyped the issue”, Kher said.
He further said, returning the awards had sent a wrong message to the world that ‘growing intolerance’ had plagued India. Hitting out at the ‘award wapsi’ phenomenon, the veteran actor stated that returning the honour would not solve the issue but upholding peaceful co-existence, secularism and an united stand would address the debacle.
Madhur Bhandarkar, who also joined the rally, said returning awards tantamount to disrespecting the whole country as an award is the recognition that the citizens confer for works of the artists.
However, the rally called by Anupam Kher, echoed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement that ‘intolerance’ was a ‘manufactured outrage’.
Rejecting allegation that the rally was influenced by the BJP-led government, Anupam Kher stated that, the returning of awards have tarnished the image of the country globally and hyped the ‘intolerance’ issue.
“The rally is a forum to uphold the unity of India and was not influenced by any political wing”, claimed Anupam Kher, adding, “returning an award does not make anybody less Indian but such a gesture does adversely affect the country’s reputation globally”.
Anupam Kher is also expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening today.
The organisers of the rally had used social media platform to apprise people about the event.
However, people of India are still contemplating whether ‘march against march’ will address the tension which has definitely created a rift between the rebel group and the non-rebel group of award winners.
(Picture Courtesy: www.shongram.com)