How Celebrities Reacted to Violence in Jamia Millia Islamia

New Delhi: On December 15, the Delhi Police forcefully entered Jamia Millia Islamia University and unleashed violence on students who were protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Soon after, videos of teargassing from inside the college’s central library and elsewhere surfaced on social media.

Enraged, hundreds of students, activists and common people gathered at Delhi Police’s headquarter in ITO to condemn violence against the Jamia students. They also demanded the immediate release of the more than 50 students who were detained. The students were released a day later.

As night gave into day, protests broke out across campuses in India, stirring most on social media to voice solidarity with the students. Several film actors, directors, and authors took to Twitter to comment on the series of incidents. While some outrightly condemned attacks on students, others kept themselves at a safe distance by trying to give a balanced view on the matter.

Actors and directors

One of the biggest names to condemn the violence was American actor John Cusack, who on Sunday, took to Twitter to call the university a “war zone” as the reports came in.

Cusack is politically active and had earlier met whistleblower Edward Snowden with one of the current dispensation’s vocal critics, Arundhati Roy.

Similarly, Bollywood film director Anubhav Sinha, who made the film Article 15 which deals with caste issues in the heartland, also spoke against the violence meted out against the students. Sinha has been sharing details on campus protests elsewhere and appealing to others from the film fraternity to speak up.

Director Anurag Kashyap, who had quit Twitter earlier this year, broke his silence to call out police brutality.

Actors like Richa Chaddha, Sayani Gupta and Zeeshan Ayyub were among the first to talk about the protest and the violence.

Sayani Gupta was daring enough to challenge other actors to speak out, tagging the A-listers who appeared in a famous selfie with Modi before the election.

Ayyub has not only been vocal on Twitter about the issue but also went to Jamia to extend his support to the students.

By nightfall, the dam was open and support poured out from A-list actors and directors – among them Taapsee Pannu, Soni Razdan, Pooja Bhatt, Alankrita Shrivastav, Manoj Vajpayee, Ali Fazal, Kubbra Sait, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkumar Rao, Dia Mirza, Vikrant Massey and Huma Qureshi.

While there are iconic actors like Amitabh Bacchan, Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan (an alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia) who haven’t spoken up on the issue, there are some who were careful to balance their support with a statement against the destruction of public property.

Akshay Kumar, who takes a pro-BJP government stance on a host of issues these days, ended up apologising for liking a tweet, much to the ridicule of his critics on social media.

Film industry (south)

From the southern film fraternity, Parvathy Thiruvothu and Siddharth were the usual suspects who tweeted in support of students in Jamia and campus protests elsewhere in the country. Both the actors, otherwise too, are quite vocal about political and gender-based injustices.

Actors like Rima Kallingal, Kunchacko Boban, Prithviraj, Indrajith, Dulquer Salman and Tovino Thomas from the Malayalam film industry have also lent support to the those protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the News Minute reported.


Best-selling authors like Chetan Bhagat and Ravindra Singh have also spoken in the favour of the students. Bhagat’s stance is particularly notable, considering that he is usually an ardent supporter of the ruling party and its stance.