Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday hit out at actor Deepika Padukone accusing her of standing with people who say 'Bharat tere tukde honge' (India will be divided).
Irani is the latest BJP leader to criticise Padukone for going to Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University and showing solidarity to protesting students who were attacked by a masked mob on January 5 inside their campus.
"Anybody who has read the news knew where they were going to stand, knew she was going to stand with people who wanted the destruction of India. Knew that she was standing with people who celebrate every time a CRPF jawan is killed," said Irani, Union Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development.
She added, "They hit girls on their private parts with lathis. She stood next to them, that is her right. I can't deny her that right."
"I would rather know where she stands. She stood there. It's okay, stand next to people who say bharat tere tukde honge," the minister said taking a sarcastic jibe at the actor.
Irani was speaking at an event organised by The New Indian Express.
"She made her political affiliation known in 2011 that she supports the Congress Party. Lot of people were shocked because they did not know," the minister added.
Padukone, who was in Delhi to promote her new movie "Chhapaak" that released today, visited JNU on Tuesday evening and stood with the protesters but did not address the gathering.
In a widely circulated image, the actor was seen with her hands folded before Aishe Ghosh, the JNU Students' Union President who received head injury during the attack.
After her JNU visit, many appreciated her "silent solidarity", but some others criticised her for "supporting Leftists", saying it was a promotional stunt ahead of the release of her film.
Several BJP leaders have condemned the move.
While BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri and others asked people to boycott her upcoming movie "Chhapaak" for her support to the "tukde-tukde gang" and the opposition Congress hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to stop "crushing India's soul".
"Modiji, Stop crushing India's soul! As per you and your Bhakts - 1. No artist can protest. 2. No artist shall join a cause. 3. No artist has a right to express," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Twitter.
"Chappak is not about an artist but 1,000 women who suffer acid attacks on their body and soul every year. Isn't this the same?" He asked.
Two Congress-ruled states--Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh--have made the film tax-free.
(With agency inputs)
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine