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

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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.

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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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