'This is where I was born and this is where I'll die.'
A fake tweet with Shabana Azmi's picture is being circulated stating that the award-winning legenedary actress would leave the country if Narendra Damodardas Modi becomes prime minister again.
The false remark attributed to Shabana has provoked outrage among her friends and well-wishers who have followed her social commitment for decades.
Shabana remains unfazed.
"I do not feel hurt at all. I don't need a certificate from people who are hellbent on destroying the ethos of India, which is one that embraces diversity and encourages dissent," Shabana tells Subhash K Jha.
"I have only contempt for the pathetic attempts to malign those who have the courage to speak the truth. I have no intentions of leaving the country! This is where I was born and this is where I'll die."
"I have nothing but contempt for the fakenews brigade. Their desperation to try and discredit those who hold a view different from theirs is both vicious and laughable. I have never made this statement attributed to me," she adds.
The sheer preposterousness of the statement attributed to Shabana takes her breath away. "Surely, nobody would believe that I would say something so stupid! It is incomprehensible to me how such a crass statement could be attributed to me. I am a responsible citizen. Do I have to give proof of that?"
Shabana lashes out at the fakenews brigade. "When you can't face up to the fact that your leader failed to deliver what he had promised, you resort to fake news to malign someone whose sane voice doesn't suit your purposes!"
"My father (the legendary late poet Kaifi Azmi) taught me never to treat your opponent as your enemy. Discredit fakenews with truth not with falsehood and innuendo!"
The attempt, says Shabana, is to discredit and thwart all voices of dissent. "But it can't work beyond a point because it also gives rise to fact-finding teams and AltNews reporters who stick their necks out to expose falsehood."
"Ultimately, Truth will prevail. Like Kaifi said Honthon ko sii ke dekhiye pachchtaiyega aap/Hungamein jaag uthate hain aksar ghutan ke baad."
"Jeena yahan marna yahan isske siva jaana kahan," says Shabana. "I am not going anywhere."