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‘Bollywood warriors’: Twitter feud erupts after Indian filmmakers accuse celebrities of supporting riots

‘Bollywood warriors’: Twitter feud erupts after Indian filmmakers accuse celebrities of supporting riots
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India have triggered an online debate, in which film directors slammed Bollywood stars for “inspiring” unrest and vandalism during rallies.

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri tweeted a series of videos, which appear to show mobs of violent protesters against the new law dismantling train tracks, starting fires and attacking police officers.

“Peaceful students beating up police peacefully. Hello Bollywood warriors, I must thank you for supporting such peaceful protestors,” he wrote, while arguing in another tweet that the protests were “Bollywood-inspired.”

He also seemed to suggest that the majority of the protesting students were inauthentic. “Who supplied 27,000 dummy students?” he wrote.

That was when producer and documentary filmmaker Ashoke Pandit replied to Agnihotri’s tweet that “many more like these friends of ours have supplied dummies.” He tagged several celebrities who have fiercely opposed CAA, including actress Richa Chandha.

Chandha did not take being called out lightly. She went on to call Pandit “a rabid hate monger that froths at the mouth on TV debates,” and accused him of “inciting abuse against ppl who disagree with you.”

In an apparent attempt to tone down his earlier comments, Pandit told Chandha that their disagreement does not mean that he disrespects her.

Some other actors have strongly attacked the law as well. Swara Bhasker slammed it as “bigoted,” while fellow actress Parineeti Chopra called police “barbaric” for confronting protesters.

Rajkummar Rao, meanwhile, condemned violence committed by police, as well as by protesters.

The Citizenship Amendment Act was approved by the Indian parliament earlier this month. The legislation simplifies getting citizenship for six religious groups, which have come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but not for Muslims living in India.

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Critics are calling the law discriminatory towards Muslims, while the government insists that its purpose is to help persecuted people who have arrived from Muslim-majority countries.

The rallies against legislation began peacefully but quickly spiraled into violence, with rioters throwing bricks at police and burning cars on the streets.

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