Several rounds of talks held over a month have failed to break the deadlock between the Central Government and farmers protesting against the new agricultural bills which have come in for sharp, widespread criticism.
Though Bollywood celebrities, who can spearhead a change thanks to their massive fan following, have as usual decided to stay mum — with the notable exception of actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh who has backed the farmers’ cause.
Diljit Dosanjh, who comes across as a shy person and rarely speaks even when it comes to promotions of his own films, has sprung a surprise by being the first celeb to take up the farmers’ cause, apparently unfazed by possible repercussions. The actor retaliated against his fellow celebrity Kangana Ranaut’s comment that the farmers’ protest is anti-national. He also called her out for wrongly identifying an old Sikh woman at the protest as one of the organisers of the Shaheen Bagh sit-in against the Centre’s controversial citizenship law.
Though Kangana got ugly in the social media spat, calling Diljit names and other derogatory terms, the actor did not stoop to the same level in his responses, and earned massive support from netizens. Diljit is not only continuously supporting the farmers but has also joined them in the protest and donated Rs.1 crore towards winter-wear for the protesters.
On the other hand, Kangana received backlash for her overt support of the ruling BJP and was criticised for spreading ‘disinformation’ to discredit the movement.
PC supports Diljit
Priyanka Chopra Jonas endorsed Diljit’s tweet and shared her take on the farmers’ protest on Sunday. The actress said farmers’ concerns about the Centre’s new agricultural laws need to be addressed urgently. Referring to farmers as ‘India’s food soldiers,’ she said in her tweet that “Their fears need to be allayed. Their hopes need to be met. As a thriving democracy, we must ensure that this crisis is resolved sooner than late.”
Priyanka’s tweet in favour of the farmers in their stand-off with the government bucks the trend of Indian celebrities not taking a stand on social issues fearing either reprisals from the government or a backlash from fans for supporting a cause that is against the government.
Actor Akhay Kumar, Anupam Kher, and Vivek Oberoi are among those who have made it clear by their actions where their support lies. And when it comes to standing up for a cause, these stars turn into mouthpieces of the government.
Recently, responding to netizens’ pleas to speak out on the issue, actress Taapsee tweeted that she should be spared if she doesn’t want to voice an opinion!
Fear keeps them silent
"Every star is scared of getting hounded. They are scared to speak. There is abuse and trolls on social media once you put out an opinion and if you don’t like trolls you don’t opine. Everyone is worried and scared in the present circumstances. If you don’t back the government then speaking out will have repercussions.”
Media guru and political analyst
‘Stay out of it’, says Sunny Deol
Actor-BJP MP from Gurdaspur, Sunny Deol, has come out to speak, not in favour of the farmers but support his party!
“I request the whole world that it is a matter between our farmers and the government. Do not come between them, because both will find a way after discussions. I know that many people want to take advantage of the situation and are creating problems. They are not thinking of farmers. They may have their own agenda,” Sunny said in a statement in Hindi on Twitter.
In his next tweet he also mentioned that he is distancing himself from actor-turned activist Deep Sandhu who campaigned for him in the 2019 elections. Deep has now joined farmers’ protest, which clearly hasn’t gone down well with Sunny, for it’s against the government in power.
Sunny has broken ties with Deep to save himself. “Deep Siddhu, who was with me during the election, has not been with me for a long time and whatever he is speaking, he is saying on his own. I am in no way related to his activities. I stand with my party and farmers and will always be with farmers. Our government always thinks of the betterment of farmers and I am sure that the government will ensure the right outcome after holding talks with farmers,” he added.