Zeeshan Ayyub: BJP Assaults the Peaceful and Supports the Violent
Actor Zeeshan Ayyub says that BJP is cracking down on peaceful protesters even as it encourages assaulters in JNU.
“Chandrashekhar Azad should be azad (free). The way the Modi government is keeping him in jail is unconstitutional.”Actor Zeeshan Ayyub, whose character in Article 15 was based on activist Chandrashekhar Azad
Speaking to The Quint at the protest outside Gateway of India in Mumbai, Ayyub says that the BJP is cracking down on peaceful protesters while encouraging violent elements such as those who assaulted students and professors in JNU.
The following are excerpts from the conversation.
‘BJP Getting Exposed’
The violence in JNU was horrific, with students and professors being attacked and the Delhi Police seemingly allowing it all to happen, with no intervention whatsoever.
Zeeshan Ayyub: The BJP government is getting exposed through all that is happening. It is clear how they view students, and how they enjoy watching violence unfold.
The Delhi Police was made to stand outside the campus and prevent people from entering the campus to help the students who were under attack. That is why the gates were shut and barricades put up. Their true face is coming out through all of this. And that is why there so many people who are joining the protests against this government’s actions.
But the BJP has tweeted out that they condemn the violence in JNU, and even pointed fingers at the Opposition by saying that those with “shrinking political footprint” are behind the JNU violence.
Zeeshan Ayyub: What can I say? The Prime Minister in a speech at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan had said that his government has never spoken about the NRC, so I think it is pretty clear how much we can rely on the statements of the BJP.
Like someone wrote on Facebook, let’s assume for a minute that ABVP students were attacked in JNU. Then, they should immediately go and hold a protest outside the Delhi Police Commissioner’s office and demand that appropriate action be taken!
‘Protesters Chanting ‘Saare Jahaan Se Accha’, CAA Supporters Saying ‘Goli Maaro Saalo Ko’’
No arrests have been made by the Delhi Police so far regarding the JNU violence. Slogans inciting violence at pro-CAA rallies are not acted against by the cops. But the same police force has been so quick to detain protesters.
Zeeshan Ayyub: Just look at the pro-CAA rallies that were organised. None of them were blocked by imposing Section 144. None of the pro-CAA people were detained.
The police will target people who are gathering to protest peacefully, by saying that they are inciting violence. But right in front of them, when slogans inciting violence are raised at the pro-CAA rallies, the police is supporting them.
The protesters against the government are chanting, ‘Saare jahaan se accha, Hindustan humara’. At the pro-CAA rallies, they are chanting, ‘Goli maaro saalon ko, desh ke gaddaron ko (Shoot the traitors).’
They want to push us towards violence because then it is easier for them to crush dissent. But we will not get violent in the least. We will continue standing up to them and even if they attack and injure us, we will not turn violent.
‘Low Turnout at BJP’s Bollywood Dinner Shows the Shift in the Industry’
Several Bollywood celebrities who were invited to the dinner hosted by BJP Union Minister Piyush Goyal refused to turn up for it. Do you feel that the tide in Bollywood is finally going the other way?
Zeeshan Ayyub: The fact that many of them did not attend the dinner clearly shows that even though an environment had been created in which Bollywood celebrities would succumb to all the demands made by this government, now people are realising the situation in the country.
They are realising that those speaking up against this government’s actions are justified in doing so, and now, they are starting to take a stand. This is what those in power feared, and this is exactly what is happening now.
‘Chandrashekar Azad Should Be Azad, They Have Jailed Him Unconstitutionally’
The character you played In the film ‘Article 15’ is very strongly based on Chandrashekhar Azad. Currently, he is languishing in jail and there are allegations that he is not receiving proper healthcare in prison. As someone you’ve portrayed on screen, you must be feeling a certain connection to him, especially at such a time?
Zeeshan Ayyub: Human rights are being violated. What they are doing is unconstitutional. Even in times of war, those who are injured (in enemy camps) are provided healthcare. The way they are treating Azad shows that they are scared of him. There should be an investigation into his condition.
People are out protesting because of the inhuman way in which the government is behaving with its citizens. Chandrashekhar Azad should be released at the earliest. He has every right to be azad (free).
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