INDIA ABROAD January 27, 2017 27 INDIA
ashmiri actress Zaira
Wasim of "Dangal"
fame posted an apolo-
gy on social media for
meeting Jammu and
Kashmir Chief Minister
Mehbooba Mufti, an action that
subjected her to a barrage of
trolling. She later withdrew the
apology, originally posted on
Monday, Jan. 16, after support
flowed in from well-wishers,
including Bollywood celebrities
and leading politicians.
Celebrated for her work in
"Dangal," the 16-year-old met on
Saturday, Jan. 14, with Mufti,
who asked about her education
and interest in other creative
fields like acting.
However, the Srinagar-based
Zaira was trolled on social media
when photos from the meeting
Without saying what she was
sorry for, the actress took to
social media on Monday and
apologized for hurting the senti-
ments of fellow Kashmiris. She
posted that she does not want
anyone to follow her footsteps or
even consider her as a role
But Omar Abdullah, former
Jammu and Kashmir chief minis-
ter, along with film’s Javed
Akhtar, Anupam Kher and Vivek
Agnihotri came out in her sup-
port, lashing out at the trolls.
Abdullah posted: "A 16 year
old shouldn't be forced to apologise and that too allegedly for
meeting Mehbooba Mufti. What
are we coming to! I've a problem
with Mehbooba Mufti trying to
usurp other peoples success to
cover up her own failures but
why punish/troll people she
Akhtar wondered whether
Zaira had the freedom to do as
she wished and tweeted: "Those
who shout 'azadi' from the roof
tops don't give an iota of azadi to
others. Poor Zaira Waseem had to
apologise for her success.
Kher, too, expressed his support for the young actress, calling
her his role model. He posted:
"Dear Zaira Wasim, your apology
letter is sad but full of courage. It
exposes the cowardice of people
who made you write it. But you
are my role model."
Agnihotri also shared
instances from his past and
lashed out at individuals for not
taking a stand in support of Zaira.
Later, however, Zaira deleted
the apology and posted a clarification -- but this, too, the actress
took down later.
The now-deleted clarification
read: "Regarding my last post, I
have no idea why this has
become such a big issue. I just
wanted to make sure that I did
not hurt anyone's feelings and all
of a sudden it has been turned
into national news. Again and
again I am telling people that I
have not been forced into anything by anyone.
"This post was not meant
against anyone, just wanted to
make sure that people were not
hurt by what I was doing. From
media to everyone else, please
don't blow this out of proportion.
Neither was I forced nor am I
against anyone. Hopefully this
post just stops this once and for
; NEW DELHI
Vemula's mother and a few
students as protest rocked
University of Hyderabad on Jan.
17 on the first death anniversary
of the Dalit research scholar.
Students staging demonstration
in New Delhi were also detained
by the police.
Radhika Vemula was arrested
late in the evening soon after she
addressed protesting students
outside the main gate of the university as she was denied entry
into the campus.
Tension prevailed at the main
gate as police took Radhika and a
few students into custody amid
strong protest by dozens of pro-Rohith students.
During her speech, Radhika
said she was facing a threat to
her life from the central government.
She alleged that during the
last one year she and her other
family members were harassed
on false charges that they are not
Earlier, police arrested scores
of protestors as they tried to defy
the ban orders and enter the
campus to pay tributes to Rohith
and take part in a meeting.
Activists of the Aam Admi
Party (AAP), Ambedkar Students
Association (ASA), Students
Islamic Organization (SIO),
Osmania University Joint Action
Committee and other student
groups were among those who
gathered at the main gate.
Police erected barricades to
stop outsiders from entering the
Vijay Kumar, one of the
friends of Rohith, said the police
were trying to suppress a peaceful gathering.
The Joint Action Committee
for Social Justice, an umbrella
grouping of student bodies
demanding justice for Rohith,
was holding a meeting in the
campus to mark 'shahdath din'
The organisers invited Jaan
Mohammed, brother of
Mohammed Akhlaq, who was
lynched by a mob at Dadri in
Uttar Pradesh over rumours of
beef eating, Fathima Nafees,
mother of missing JNU student
Najeeb Ahmed, suspended student and Birsa Ambedkar Phule
Students Association leader
The university had made it
clear that there was no permission to hold any programme on
the campus. However, defying
the orders, a group of students
gathered at 'Velivada' (Dalit ghetto) on the campus.
Holding pictures of Rohith and
placards, they raised slogans
demanding the arrest of Vice
Chancellor P. Appa Rao and justice for Rohith.
Rohith Vemula, a PhD student, committed suicide by
hanging himself in a hostel room
on the campus in 2016 after
alleged caste-based discrimination, triggering protests across
He resorted to the extreme
step during a protest along with
four other Dalit students over
their suspension by the university following a clash with ABVP
The Joint Action Committee is
also seeking a legislation named
after Rohith to curb caste-based
discrimination on campuses.
About 250-300 students staging a demonstration to mark his
death anniversary were detained
when they blocked the crucial
Janpath road in Connaught Place
area of New Delhi.
Following a protest call from
JNU Students' Union, around
1,000 students from the JNU,
Delhi University, and the Jamia
Milia Islamia, among other universities, took out a rally from
Mandi House, intending to go to
Ministry of Human Resource
Department (MHRD), only to be
faced with elaborate barricading
The police corralled the students at the red light near
Janpath Metro Station and ferried them in three buses to
Parliament Street Police Station.
For Zaira, the Political Gets Personal
Rohith Vemula's Mother, Students Arrested
as Protest Rocks Hyderabad University
Social media dust-up explodes after teen’s visit with J&K’s Mufti
India Outraged Over
National Flag Doormats
Sold on Amazon
; NEW DELHI
Amazon.com Inc. for selling
doormats depicting the Indian
flag on the online shopping
giant's Canadian website.
External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj warned on
Twitter that she could deny
Indian visas to Amazon
employees if the company did
not apologize and "withdraw
all products insulting our
national flag immediately."
"If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant an
Indian visa to any Amazon
official. We will also rescind
the visas issued earlier,"
Swaraj tweeted. The doormats
were being sold by a third
party and other mats showed
other national flags, including
the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
Swaraj ordered the embassy in
Canada to take up the matter
with Amazon "at the highest
The site removed the
Indian-themed product, following Swaraj's Twitter threat.
The doormats had outraged
many people among the
Indian diaspora in Canada,
who posted pictures of them
on social media and urged the
foreign minister to formally
In India, insulting the
national flag is punishable
with fines and imprisonment.
Last year, there were
protests after the online marketplace offered doormats
depicting Hindu gods.