Prakash Raj offers clarification on statement: I am not a fool to give back my National Awards


    Threatening to return his four National Awards, actor Prakash Raj has condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder.

    Actor Prakash Raj, who had threatened to return his National Awards, has offered clarifications on his early statements. He had condemned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on certain sections “celebrating” the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh on social media.

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    Raj posted a clarification on Twitter after the story had gained significant attention. “I am not a fool to give back my National Awards, which have been given to me for my body of work, and which I’m very proud of,” he said. “But yes, coming to the point, I would like to own up to certain things.”

    “We don’t know who has killed them (the slain journalists), but we do know who is celebrating,” he said, “and I am pained, I am taken aback by the celebrations of an inhuman killing, and for the very fact that I have vented out my pain and my anguish towards those people who are celebrating, I have been trolled.”

    “But if such people are being followed by the Prime Minister, and Prime Minister is not taking a stand on them and not commenting on them, as a citizen of this country, I am disturbed, hurt and afraid by the silence of the Prime Minister,” he said.

    “I am talking to my Prime Minister, and I say your silence is chilling,” he continued, “ and I have a right to say this.”

    He had earlier said Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, is a better actor than him. “Gauri’s killers have not been caught yet. But what is more disappointing is people celebrating her murder over social media spreading hatred,” Raj said on Sunday speaking at the 11th state meet of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) held in Bengaluru.

    “Some of these people who celebrated her (Gauri’s) murder are followed by our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) on Twitter. We have a PM who shuts his eyes to this,” he said.

    Immediately hitting out at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Raj said, “When you look at the kind of statements he (Adityanath) makes, you don’t understand whether he’s a Chief Minister or a priest. He (Adityanath) is a better actor than me. I think I must give out all my five national awards to him.”

    Clarifying Raj’s statement, Muneer Katipalla, the state president of DYFI said, “It was only a satirical comment that Prakash Raj made referring to how Adityanath was trying to act like a Chief Minister.” Raj, however, did not respond to attempts by IANS to contact him to verify if he really plans to return his national awards.

    Raj had voiced his opinion after Lankesh’s murder too. “I knew Gauri for 30 years. In a sense, we were all children of (P) Lankesh, his ideologies and way of life. I never dreamt that this day would come. We were taught to be honest citizens, who would never seize to raise one’s voice. In fact, I don’t think anyone voiced their opinion more than P Lankesh himself. This was how we were taught to be. It is astonishing to see where we have come to today,” he had told Times of India.


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