Actor Kamal Haasan on Wednesday admitted to having beef and said he does not do it anymore. “I was consuming beef before but not now. It is up to an individual to eat it or not,” he said at the audio launch of his next film Thoongavanam.
Haasan’s remarks came in the middle of a bitter national debate over consuming beef, rumours over which resulted in the public lynching of 52-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq last week by a mob in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri area, barely 30 km from New Delhi.
Since the killing, a number of India’s artists and writers have come out in support of the freedom to eat. Earlier this week, actor and filmmaker Farhan Akhtar posted the following message on his Facebook page:
“It’s been almost a week now since a man (husband and father) in Dadri, U.P was brutally murdered. He was dragged out of his house and in full view of his family, beaten to death by a mob. His son is in critical condition, doctors still struggling to keep him alive. His wife and daughter will probably never recover from this incident. Reason: He was rumored to have stored and/or eaten beef. Let me repeat that. He was RUMORED to have stored and/or eaten beef.”
“The point of this post is that another thing will be routine. The silence of the peace loving citizen. But this is NOT the time to remain silent. What has happened once can surely happen again and unless we, the people, do not unite in demanding immediate action, this is going to turn into a circus with all the usual suspects having a go at each other, trying to score PR points. There are serious implications if justice is not swift and exact,” Akhtar posted.
On Tuesday, authors Nayantara Sahgal and Ashok Vajpeyi returned their Sahitya Akademi awards, attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on the Dadri incident.