After actor Sai Pallavi's remarks on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits triggered a controversy, she issued a clarification on Saturday, 17 June that her intention was to convey that violence in the name of religion is a sin.
In an Instagram video, she said that snippets of the interview were taken out of context on social media and added that she will think twice before speaking her heart.
While ahead of the release of her film Virata Parvam, which is set in the backdrop of the Naxalite movement in Telangana in the 1990s, the actor had condemned violence in the name of religion; she said that while the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was wrong, so is cow vigilantism. Her comments drew mixed reactions on social media with many trolling her, alleging that she was belittling the Kashmir tragedy.
‘Appalled That Many on Social Media Justified the Mob Lynching’
She clarified in the video that her intent was not to belittle any tragedy.
"In a recent interview I was asked if I was a supporter of the left or the right wing. I clearly stated that I believe I'm neutral. We need to be good human beings first before we identify ourselves with our beliefs. The oppressed need to be protected at any cost," she said in the video.
She said she had seen the Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri's film 'The Kashmir Files' and was disturbed by the "plight" of Kashmiri Pandits shown in the movie.
"And being someone that I am, I would never belittle tragedy like the genocide and the generations of people who are still affected by it," she said.
She added that, she "could never come to terms with the mob lynching incident during COVID times" and was "shaken" by it for days.
"I believe that violence in any form is wrong and violence in the name of any religion is a huge sin. This is all I intended to say. I don't think any of us have the right to take another person's life. Being a medical graduate, I believe that all lives are equal and all lives are important."Actor Sai Pallavi
Pallavi further said she hopes that in future no person in the country has to be "scared of his or her identity."
She said she was appalled that many on social media had "justified the mob lynching."
She questioned media houses for projecting only part of the interview without giving context. She also conveyed gratitude to all those who stood by her.
‘Trivialising Genocide’: Social Media Had Condemned Pallavi’s Statement
On 15 June, during a promotional interview for her film with a YouTube channel, Pallavi was asked about her political inclination.
“I grew up in a neutral family where I was taught to be a good human being. I was taught I should protect the ones who are being hurt. The oppressed should be protected. Irrespective of their stature. I have heard about the left-wing and the right-wing. But, we can never surely tell who’s wrong and who’s right."
However, this statement was ignored and a video of what she said next went viral, inviting the ire of social media users. “'The Kashmiri Files' showed how Kashmiri Pandits were killed at the time. If you are taking the issue as a religious conflict, recently a Muslim driver, who was transporting cows, was beaten up and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram.’ So where’s the difference between these two incidents? We have to be good human beings. If we are good ones, we won’t hurt others,” she said.
Some Twitterati, including actor Divya Spandana aka Ramya, appreciated Pallavi's statements and hailed her for "speaking truth to power", while another section of people accused her of trivialising the genocidal attack on the Kashmiri Pandit community in the 1990s.
Sai Pallavi's Telugu film Virata Parvam hit the theatres this week. The movie, which also stars Rana Daggubati, is inspired by true events from the 1990s. It chronicles a love story against the backdrop of the Naxalite movement in the Telangana region.