Demand to take back Kangana Ranaut’s Padma Shri grows

Politicians across party lines have demanded that Kangana Ranaut's Padma Shri be taken back and she be arrested on charges of sedition.

Kangana Ranaut is in the eye of a storm for describing India's Independence in 1947 as ‘bheek’ or alms. Photo: Twitter

Just days after actor Kangana Ranaut received the prestigious Padma Shri for Art, the clamour to strip Ranaut of the award is growing. Politicians across party lines and many netizens have demanded the government take back the Padma Shri bestowed on the Bollywood actor for describing India’s Independence in 1947 as ‘bheek’ or alms.

In an interview to TimesNow, Ranaut claimed that India attained freedom only in 2014, when the Narendra Modi-led government came to power. What India got in 1947, according to Ranaut, was alms.

Many have demanded a sedition case against the actor in addition to the award being taken away. Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe on Thursday said actor Kangana Ranaut should face a sedition case for terming India’s independence as “alms” and her Padma Shri award should be revoked.

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Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma termed the remarks “shocking and outrageous” and urged President Ram Nath Kovind to take back the Padma award given to Ranaut.

In a series of tweets, Sharma said, “Kangana Ranaut’s statement heaping insult on the courageous freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Sardar Patel but also belittling the sacrifices of revolutionaries like Sardar Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad and several others.”

He went as far as to say, “Psychiatric evaluation should be carried out before giving such awards so that such persons do not dishonour the nation and its heroes.”

The clamour to take back the award from Kangana also came from within the National Democratic Alliance with Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose party is in alliance with the NDA in Bihar, saying all news channels should henceforth boycott the actor.

Manjhi, who has been the former chief minister of Bihar, said, “The Padma Shri conferred upon Kangana Ranaut should be withdrawn forthwith. Else the world will think that Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Bhagat Singh, Kalam, Mukherjee, Savarkar all had begged to get freedom.”

The Nationalist Congress Party led by Sharad Pawar, too, came down heavily on the actor for her remarks and demanded her arrest.

“She insulted freedom fighters. The Centre must take back Padma Shri from Kangana and arrest her. Looks like Kangana Ranaut took a heavy dose of malana cream (a particular variety of hashish that grows specifically in Himachal) before making such a statement,” Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik said.

The Aam Aadmi Party, meanwhile, has submitted an application to Mumbai Police, demanding that a case be registered against Ranaut. AAP’s national executive member Preeti Sharma Menon described the actor’s remarks as “seditious and inflammatory”.

Criticism against Ranaut also from the BJP as well with Lok Sabha MP Varun Gandhi asking, “Should I call this madness or treason.”

“Sometimes an insult to Mahatma Gandhi’s sacrifice and penance, sometimes respect to his (Mahatma Gandhi’s) killer, and now an insult to the sacrifices of lakhs of freedom fighters – from Shaheed Mangal Pandey to Rani Laxmibai, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and more. Should I call this madness or treason?” Varun Gandhi tweeted.