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Ashoke Pandit: “You don’t lighten the issue with your foolish words!”

Why Huma Qureshi’s comments made the filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit and others so upset

It’s becoming increasingly debatable whether it is better for Bollywood stars to say something regarding current affairs or say something embarrassing with controversial consequences as Huma Qureshi did. While condemning the recent Amarnath Yatra attacks, the actress posted on Twitter, “For years Kashmiri Muslims have helped Hindu brothers undertake Amarnath Yatra. Shame on terrorists. We will not let hate. #UnitedWeStand.”

This gave rise to a storm of protests which included from filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit who responded to her on the social media saying, “Kashmiri Muslims don’t help, it’s their business and they make money from Yatris. So let’s not speak lies to ourselves and try to shift focus.”


When we asked Ashoke Pandit what made him so upset he said, “First of all when you say, ‘Kashmiri Muslims have helped Hindu brothers’ you communalize the whole issue. Why do you want to say that Muslims helped Hindus and Hindus helped Muslims? It doesn’t happen when it’s the other way round. People don’t write when Hindus are helping Muslims – you say locals have helped… Then you use the word ‘locals.’ Then it’s not about religion. That is the hypocrisy which these pseudos normally go by. Secondly, the people there are not helping – they are professionals making money and charging the yatri (traveler) – from the horsewalla and the businessman to the restaurant owner and dhabawalla. They are not there as some missionaries who are trying to help us. Let’s be very clear on that. Because they are professionally involved, they are helping us and not doing it for free.”

According to the filmmaker by posting such a tweet Huma had trivialized a serious issue. Ashoke adds, “You are trying to lighten the moment of attack. You suddenly become a saint and talk like one – say stuff like ‘people are helping each other’. The point is that you don’t try to make light of the issues that are taking place. It was a very big thing and Huma was trivializing the issue. Also, please don’t make fun of people who have been the victims. Aisi achhi achhi baatein karne se kuch nahi hota hai. Jo hua hai aap condemn karo usko. Be honest to yourself. Sometimes out of passion you do get up and talk about certain things. But I have never heard Huma talk about my issues as a Kashmiri Pandit till now. We are both from Bollywood and it would have been an expression of solidarity if she had supported us on that. It’s just that, sometimes when you start feeling the other community is being accused of doing wrong, you start making these statements so things don’t go off on the other end. I also don’t want that to happen. I too don’t want things to go from bad to worse but the point is you don’t lighten the issue with your foolish words.”

In the meanwhile, Huma has moved on beyond the controversy. She is currently attending the global awards event IIFA in New York.

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