Award-winning actor Prakash Raj on Sunday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. Saying he could tell when those in power – including Prime Minister Narendra Modi – were ‘acting’, Raj said he felt like giving his awards back.
Raj, speaking at the inauguration of the 11th State meet of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), questioned the Prime Minister’s silence as well as what appears to be his refusal to condemn the apparent right wing supporters celebrating Lankesh’s murder on social media. Several of these social media accounts are followed by the Prime Minister.
“We don’t know who killed my dear friend Gauri Lankesh, but we can see the people who are celebrating her murder. In my life, I have never seen so much abuse like what happens on social media. Some people followed by our Prime Minister on Twitter spew venom. And the Prime Minister turns a blind eye to this.”
“You can’t make me believe by making promises of good days. See, I’m a bigger actor than you people (Modi government) and I can tell when you are acting. Please respect the fact that I’m a professional actor. When you act as if you don’t know anything, do you think I or people will buy it?,” he said.
On politicians, Raj said: “I saw a video, I couldn’t tell if he was Uttar Pradesh chief minister or a temple priest. Looks like he plays a double role. When I see such talented actors, I feel like giving them all five National Awards that were given to me,” Raj said, adding, “Let’s not be afraid of such people. They are not stronger than us. Our weakness is their strength.”
Speaking at the event, Raj added: “The source of all problems is people’s ignorance. Every one of us is an ignorant. When ignorant people vote in exams called elections, obviously, only bad people will come to power. Electors think they are innocent but in reality, they are ignorant.
“When my fans asked to form fan clubs for me, I rejected it. I told them I act in films if you like watch it or don’t. I live my life and you live yours. Ignorant people pose risk to others because of their innocent mistakes. If you don’t know something you should make an effort to understand it or listen when right people tell you right things. Unless we realise that we are responsible for all the wrong things that happen around us, there won’t be any change in our society.”
Raj has won five National Awards – Best Supporting Actor for Iruvar (1997, Tamil), Special Jury Award for Anthapuram (1999, Telugu), Special Jury Award for various movies, Best Actor for Kanchivaram (2007, Tamil), and Best Film for Puttakkana Highway (2010, Kannada).