National award winning actor Prakash Raj has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on those who were “celebrating” the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh and said he feels like returning his awards.
Lankesh, who had strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead from close range by unknown assailants at her home in Bengaluru on the night of September 5.
Raj said Lankesh was his close friend and in his experience he had not heard such harsh language being used against anyone.
“My problem is that -- who killed (her) is not important -- but who is celebrating is clearly seen (on Twitter),” he said after inaugurating the 11th state conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
“Who is happy can be clearly seen. There may not be proof (regarding the killing), but things can be seen. Today through social media the hidden cruelty is known,” he said.
“We have a prime minister amidst us who is sitting with his eyes shut to this,” the actor alleged.
“I’m bigger actor than you, don’t try to act in front of me, please respect me as an actor. If you act in front of me as though you know nothing -- am I a fool (to believe it) or are people or today’s younger generation fools,” he asked.
Raj, who has acted in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil movies, went on to add, “When I see such actors who are acting as though nothing has happened, I have been given five national awards, I feel like returning it to them. They are bigger actors than me.”
He has won national awards as best supporting actor for his film ‘Iruvar’ in Tamil, special jury award for ‘Anthapuram’ in Telugu, special jury award for various movies in multiple languages, best actor for ‘Kanchivaram’ in Telugu, and best film for ‘Puttakkana Highway’ in Kannada.
Raj also apparently referred to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath performing Dussehra rituals at Gorakhpur as the mahant of the Gorakhnath temple.
He said he saw a video relating to Uttar Pradesh and could not make out whether it was a chief minister or a temple priest. “There are people who play such double roles,” he alleged.