Shatrughan Sinha on Mersal row: Criticizing GST doesn’t make someone ‘anti-national’

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Mumbai: Tamil superstar Vijay’s film ‘Mersal’ has ignited a major political row in India even as it continues to rake in the moolah at the box office. The latest personality to comment on the issue is senior BJP member Shatrughan Sinha.
“Some support GST, some don’t. Some support Demonetizations, some don’t. This doesn’t mean critics are anti-national,” Sinha, who has taken on the government earlier as well, said on October 21.
The BJP in Tamil Nadu is up in arms over what it claims is “false criticism” of the Centre’s flagship initiatives, Digital India and GST, in the movie.
Earlier, DMK working president M K Stalin said that BJP’s attempt to muzzle criticism was contrary to democratic principles. “BJP’s attempt to muzzle criticism is contrary to democratic principles. The DMK always stands for freedom of speech & creative expression,” Stalin tweeted on Saturday.
The BJP leaders have demanded the references to GST in the film be removed, following which a political controversy has erupted over the issue, with #MersalVsModi hashtag trending on Twitter. As reports about the Mersal filmmakers contemplating to edit out scenes that discuss GST made headlines, the public and the Tamil film fraternity have come out in large numbers in support of the film.
“Mersal was certified. Don’t re-censor it . Counter criticism with logical response. Dont silence critics. India will shine when it speaks,” Kamal Haasan said in a tweet. Actor-politician Sarath Kumar also shared a similar sentiment about BJP’s demands. “A film which is CERTIFIED by censor board cannot be questioned. If questionable, why censor board at all ?#Mersel,” he tweeted.
In a direct attack aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said: “Mr. Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal.”
Addressing filmmakers, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram also took a jibe at the Centre, saying a law would soon be introduced to ensure only documentaries “praising” the government’s policies would be released. “BJP demands deletion of dialogues in ‘Mersal’. Imagine the consequences if ‘Parasakthi’ was released today,” Chidambaram tweeted. “Notice to film makers: Law is coming, you can only make documentaries praising government’s policies,” he said.

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