Prakash Raj, who began his career in Kannada films but has acted in Tamil and Malayalam movies too, was reportedly a close friend of journalist Gauri Lankesh. She was murdered last month.
Prakash Raj threatens to return national awards over Gauri Lankesh killing, questions PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the murder a month ago of journalist Gauri Lankesh is why noted southern actor Prakash Raj says he wants to return his five national awards — he says “bigger actors” including the PM deserve the honours instead.
Gauri Lankesh, a critic of right-wing ideology and a fierce advocate of secularism, was shot as she returned home early in September from her office in Bengaluru. The 55-year-old published a weekly paper.
Nobody has been arrested yet; the killer is seen wearing a helmet on security cameras at her home.
After her murder, some Twitter users abused her for her leftist ideals and celebrated her killing. PM Modi follows some of those accounts. Ms Lankesh’s murder and the invective against her triggered national protests which alleged that her killing proves an intolerance of dissent.
“Some people who are followed by our Prime Minister on twitter are so brutal, and we have A PM who has closed his eyes to it. If you see videos today from Uttar Pradesh, you will be confused if he (Yogi Adityanath) is the Chief Minister or the pujari (priest) of some temple. We have people doing such double roles,” Prakash Raj said angrily yesterday in Bengaluru. “They have given me five national awards. I feel like giving it to them. These are bigger actors than me.”
He began his career in Kannada films but has acted in Tamil and Malayalam movies and was a close friend of Ms Lankesh.
BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli, however, said that Prakash Raj should target his anger at the Congress because it runs Karnataka. “It is a case of misplaced priorities because what this gentleman should have done is actually ask the question to the Congress government of the state because the police come under the state. Why haven’t they found the killers?” Mr Kohli told news agency ANI.