Multilingual actor and activist Prakash Raj has rejected threats being made against him for the continuous scathing criticism of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he was ready for it.
“The reason why i opened my mouth and more voices are rising is that Gauri will not come back...,” he said in the third and final part of the Facebook Live interview with former editor of Outlook, Krishna Prasad, adding, “...and we should not allow another Gauri to happen.”
“They have already arrested two people and are at the verge of finishing the case. Whatever it is...I am not interested in knowing who pulled the trigger...I am interested to know who made that man to pull the trigger,” he said before adding that “...everybody knows it...everybody knows what happened in Judge Loya’s case.”
Notably, Raj became a bitter critic of BJP and other Hindutva groups after his close friend Gauri Lankesh, 55, a critic of right-wing ideology and a fierce advocate of secularism, was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru last year. Subsequently, Raj had criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence over the murder of senior Kannada editor and activist, regretting that PM Modi followed those celebrating Lankesh's murder on social media.
Asked if his family was worried about him, the national award winning actor replied in affirmative: “See, I was prepared for all this...of course my mother is worried. She prays twice a day and goes to the church. My wife goes to temple...My daughter...I tell them I will never do anything where you will have to hang your heads in shame.”
Predicting that Congress will emerge as the single largest party with 120 seats in the ensuing assembly elections, Raj outrightly ruled out the possibilities of BJP winning 100-150 seats, saying “You (Narendra Modi) could not win even 100 seats in your own place (Gujarat) so don’t even think you are going to get that (score) here”
Referring to PM Modi while picking up the thread from his outburst, he said: “You will reap what you have sown. Now, your fans are saying that ‘judiciary is in the hands of BJP, you saved Amit Shah but you did not save Asaram, we will see you lose the next election’. Congress too reaped what it sowed after Emergency.”
Responding to the question as to why he was only targeting BJP when Congress too has been responsible for communalism, casteism, curbing media freedom and riots provocation, Raj said, “That is why they were thrown out. Now you (BJP) are here. That’s why I am asking you the questions...because you’re in power. When I ask you a question, a question can’t be an answer.”
He added, “I don’t blame Rahul Gandhi for that. He was a child at that time. If Congress sows the same thing, they will reap the same thing. People are more politically aware today.”
Predicting that Congress will emerge as single largest party with 120 seats in the ensuing assembly elections, Raj out rightly ruled out the possibilities of BJP winning 100-150 seats, saying “You (Narendra Modi) could not win even 100 seats in your own place (Gujarat) so don’t even think you are going to get that (score) here.”
Prakash Raj: “The reason why i opened my mouth and more voices are rising is that Gauri will not come back. We should not allow another Gauri to happen”
Speaking on media’s role in the current saffronisation of the country, he said: “Now when people read newspapers and watch TV channels they know which media house belongs to which party. It’s so obvious. Now what the BJP has done. Look at the press meets...look at the way they look at media....the questions are provided to them (interviewees) beforehand. No uncomfortable questions are asked.”
“Look at this recent arrogance...they thought they had bought some editors and media houses. They came up with a bill that the accreditation (of the journalist) will be cancelled over one fake news. And look at the revolt of the journalists. There are journalists who are not bought yet. Given the repercussions, the Prime Minister had to take back the bill within hours.....people know your hollowness,” he said and added: “Being a journalist is not a profession, it’s a way of life. Those journalists who are sell outs, they must know that when this government is no more in the Centre, we will come back to you, ask you questions about your integrity...that how difficult you made it for us to fight back.”
Media like artists is the conscience keeper of this country, he maintained.
This interview has been compiled from a Facebook live video