People’s right to dissent must be respected: Amol Palekar

Kolkata, Feb 4 (IANS) Asserting that everybody has the right to express his dissent, veteran actor-director Amol Palekar on Thursday wondered why there was so much fuss over people returning their awards as a mark to protest against intolerance.

“If an artiste feels he can convey his protest by returning his award, why are we getting so hyper and so upset about it? If I feel that I can convey my protest this way or some other way, then that must be respected,” Palekar said here.

“I have always condemned any such attempt to shut one’s voice. If a play is banned, if a film is stopped, I have always condemned that. Whether I like that film or not is not the issue. Whether I agree with that point of view is not the issue. So far as freedom of expression goes, everybody must have the freedom,” he said.

Palekar was in the city to inaugurate the Kolkata Literature Festival along with eminent poet Ashok Vajpeyi.

“Just because I don’t agree with you, I have no right to shut you up. I have no right to say you are wrong or you are this or that,” said Palekar about those protesting against intolerance being labelled as anti-national.

“If I express my dissent, do I become anti-national immediately? If I have done this with the previous government, I have the right to express myself on the present government as well.”

“On censorship issue, I have fought with all the governments in Maharashtra, whether it is Congress or the Shiv Sena or whichever party. So, I think people have the right to protest, right to express dissent and that must be respected,” he added.

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