Reacting to news reports that he was giving back his National Awards in protest against the silence over journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder, actor Prakash Raj on Tuesday clarified that he is not a fool to give them back.
He said these awards have been given for his body of work and he is proud of them.
He added, “But yes coming to the point. I would like to own up to certain things. I was on a stage where I was addressing a group of youngsters and when there is a discussion about recent killings of Gauri Lankesh or Kalburgi or these sort of killings, and my reaction was that we don’t know who has killed them because there is a police department, there is an SIT which is looking into it. But we can see whose celebrating. And I am pained. I am taken aback by celebrations of an inhuman killing and for the very fact that I have vented out my pain, my anguish towards those people who are celebrating. I have been trolled, I have been used bad words. Ok it’s all in the game, I take it.”
“At the same time, my question is as the Prime Minister of this country, if such people are being followed by the PM and PM is not taking a stand on them, or not commenting on them, as a citizen of this country, I am disturbed, hurt. I am afraid of the silence of my Prime Minister. I am not talking about a person of some other party. I don’t belong to any political party. I am a citizen of this country. And as a citizen of this country, I am not talking against any party. I am talking to my Prime Minister. Your silence is chilling. I am hurt with the silence. This is what I said and I think I have a right to say this. It’s as simple as that. And this whole hulla-gulla of trying to make it big by saying Prakash Raj wants to reject his National Awards in protest. This is something which I have not said and I am not interested in continuing discussion on this.”
Just a day earlier, the actor had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on Lankesh’s murder and said that politicians deserved his national awards more than he did.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 11th State meet of the Democratic Youth Federation of India on Monday, Prakash Raj hit out at those supporters of the right wing who have been celebrating the murder on social media.
“Gauri’s killers may not have been caught yet but what is more distressing is those who celebrated her death. We may not be able to see Gauri’s killers but we can see those who have spewed vitriol,” the actor said.
“People who our Prime Minister follows are also among them. We have a Prime Minister who shuts his eyes to this,” he added.