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Protests should be peaceful: Pankaj Tripathi on anti-Agnipath demonstrations


NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Pankaj Tripathi on Tuesday said people have the right to protest in a democracy provided it is done in a peaceful manner. During a press conference here, the 45-year-old actor was asked to comment on the widespread protests in the country against the new Agnipath military recruitment scheme, announced by the Central government last week.

“In a democracy, everyone has the right to protest (andolan) and oppose (virodh). But, I believe that protests should be peaceful and held in a proper manner. If in any protest, there is damage to the government’s property, then it means damage to the country’s property… In this country everyone has the right to speak their mind and peacefully protest. That’s how it should be,” Tripathi said.

The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths in the age group of 17-and-a-half-years to 21 years for a four-year stint with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.

ALSO READ| Pleas against Agnipath scheme: Centre files caveat in Supreme Court

Violent protests have erupted in several states against the scheme, following which the Centre extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment this year. Tripathi was in the national capital to promote his upcoming movie “Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga” with filmmaker Srijit Mukherji.

In the movie, the actor features as a patriarch of a poor farmer family going through hardships. The film is inspired by true events that happened in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh. Tripathi said the movie has a universal message and explores various issues, including the man versus wild conflict.

“This film is a story of Pilibhit but it is also Mumbai’s story. In Mumbai, there is a forest area in Aarey where we often hear stories of leopards crossing over to urban areas. The man versus wild conflict is an ongoing one… And this is what we are trying to show through this movie in a satirical way. It’s something that happens all over the world,” he added.

Tripathi said a satirical story empowers artistes to entertain while delivering an important message. “Giving a message to the society through satire is easy and I believe it is more impactful than a comedy. People initially laugh at what they see but after a while, they analyse what was shown to them,” the actor said.

Produced by Bhushan Kumar and Reliance Entertainment, “Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga” also stars Neeraj Kabi and Sayani Gupta. The film is scheduled to be released in theatres on June 24.

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