Amid a raging row over “Padmavati”, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said that nobody has the right to take law into their hands, but at the same time nobody has the right to hurt others sentiments.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the Times Litfest, Naidu emphasised that inciting violence or unlawful activities as a way of protest such as announcing bounty on some people’s heads was “unacceptable”.
“Now this new problem has come related to some film. Some people feel that it is hurting the sentiments of this community or that community and then they protest. Some of them go out of the way and announce rewards. This is not acceptable,” he said, without naming anyone.
“You have a right to protest in a democratic manner. Go to appropriate authorities and complain to them. Take the recourse in a democratic way but you cannot physically obstruct. And you cannot give violent threats,” he said.
“You don’t have a right to take law into your hands. At the same time you don’t have the right to hurt the sentiments of others. That is a reality,” he said, adding that some people are quite “selective” in their criticism.
He said respecting others’ sentiments and feelings is the “essence of our culture”.
A controversy has been raging over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama “Padmavati” with several organisations, mainly from the Rajput community, opposing release of the movie on the grounds it “distorts history”. Fringe elements have also announced rewards on the heads of actress Deepika Padukone and film director Bhansali.
The Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor starrer was scheduled to be released on December 1, but it has now been deferred.
Referring to an article in a newspaper, Naidu said in the past too films have faced bans and obstructions and mentioned “Aandhi” and “Garam Hava” as some examples.
“Aandhi” (1975) whose protagonist had striking similarities with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was banned after 26 weeks of release. “Garam Hava” was held up by the censor board for eight months.”
Speaking on Parliamentary democracy, Naidu said that it was not important as to how many days Parliament meets, the important thing was for how many days “it functions”.
Naidu said people have a right to disagree but first they “must learn to respect the majority and the people’s mandate”.
Naidu also said that while dissent was agreeable, “disintegration is not acceptable”.
“That is the bottom line and any attempt to undermine integrity and unity of India by forces inimical to growth of India must be nipped in the bud,” he said in reference to last year’ Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) controversy.