Raj attack on Bachchans symbolise eroding cultural freedom

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) Condemning the virulent campaign launched recently by Maharashtra Navanirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray against actor MP Jaya Bachchan for her innocuous statement at a public function, the Safdar Hashmi Trust described such attacks as a damage to cultural freedom practised by people living in the metropolitan city.

''We condemn the witchhunt and the crass campaign of social ostracism launched by Raj Thackeray and his party against actor Amitabh Bachchan for statements made by his wife Jaya Bachchan.

If mob fury can be unleashed (though admittedly only symbolically) against a celebrity couple just because one among them insists on speaking in the language of the state she represents in politics, one wonders what fate Raj Thackeray and his followers have reserved for the millions of migrants from the Hindi speaking area who contribute richly to the daily life of India's greatest metropolis,'' the SAHMAT said in a statement.

Noting that the campaign by Raj Thackeray against Amitabh Bachchan comes close on the heels of Shiv Sena Founder Bal Thackeray castigating Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan for referring to his antecedents in Delhi, the SAHMAT said, ''The traditions of cultural creativity and freedom that Mumbai is proud of are gravely threatened in this cynical game of competitive extremism.'' ''The celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan may, by virtue of their status, enjoy immunity from these periodic outbursts of hate and intolerence but the ensuing climate embodies a real threat to the millions of Mumbaikers who, despite their culural differences, contribute to the vitality of India's greatest metropolis,''the SAHMAT said.

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