Anyone can express opinion, says Javadekar on Deepika’s JNU visit amid call for boycott ‘Chhapaak’

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Union minister Prakash Javadekar there cannot be any objection if an artist chooses to express her opinion. (File)

Amid calls for a boycott against actor Deepika Padukone's upcoming film 'Chhapaak' for her standing in solidarity with JNU students, Union minister Prakash Javadekar Wednesday said there can be no objection to anyone expressing his or her opinion. Padukone on Tuesday visited JNU and met students who were injured by a masked mob last Sunday.

"Why only artistes, any common man can go anywhere to express an opinion, there cannot be an objection," said Javadekar.

Asked about the call by some BJP leaders to boycott Padukone's film, Javadekar said he had not read the remarks and sought to underscore the significance of his statement, saying he is stating so as a minister and regular BJP spokesperson.

South Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri asked people to boycott 'Chhapaak' for her support to the "tukde-tukde gang". Bidhuri said a Bollywood star is supposed to give a "positive message" to youth in the country through movies instead of being seen with those who are against the country.

Padukone's decision to stand in silence with JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who received head injuries during the attack on Sunday evening, at a public meeting in the campus prompted many in the industry and outside to praise her for her "quiet grace" and "courage". However, soon after her visit to JNU, #BoycottChhapaak started trending on social media.

JNU Student Union (JNUSU) also issued a statement in solidarity with the film star. "We condemn the hate being spewed against Deepika Padukone. It is a sad testament to where we stand as a society. Deepika came and stood with us, the injured and terrified students of JNU. It was an act of humane concern. We thank her."