Explained: How actor Sai Pallavi’s comments on Kashmiri Pandit exodus has created a social media storm


Actor Sai Pallavi’s comments given during an interview to promote her latest movie has caused a furore on social media.

Known for speaking her heart out, the south Indian actor left netizens battling it out — with one side chastising her for her remarks, while the other lauded her for her courage.

What did she say?

Sai Pallavi was promoting her upcoming movie Virata Parvam in which she stars across Rana Daggubatti. In the film directed by Venu Udugula, Sai plays the role of a woman who falls in love with a Naxal leader and writer.

On Wednesday, she was in an interview with YouTube channel Greatandhra during which the topic of ideologies and violence cropped up.

In one comment, she said, “Some days ago, this movie The Kashmir Files was released. In that, they showed how Kashmiri Pandits living there at that time were killed. More recently, during COVID time... if you’re taking it like a religious conflict, recently, a Muslim man was driving a vehicle transporting cows. Some people stopped him and hit him and forced him to chant slogans of Jai Shri Ram. So what happened then, and what happened now, we can’t see any difference.”

The matter emerged when the interviewer asked Sai Pallavi if she felt sympathy for the Naxals while performing this role.

“How did you feel when you wore the Naxal uniform and held guns?” the interviewer asked, as per a report in the News Minute.

To this, Sai Pallavi said, “It is an ideology, right? You might have an ideology of peace. I feel that violence is a wrong form of communication. I don’t believe now that issues can be solved with violence, but back then (the time period the film depicts), they (Naxals) would have thought about how to express their difficulties.”

"Whether that was right or wrong… well, we’re not in their situation. It was a different time. As I was saying earlier, for people in Pakistan, what our Armed Forces do may look like terrorism, because it’s harming them. For us, what they (Pakistan Armed Forces) do feels the same way. It depends on the perspective,” she added.

The actor said that she believes violence is a wrong form of communication and growing up in a neutral environment, her family only taught her to be a good human being.

Asked if she had any political leanings, Sai Pallavi said she was brought up in a neutral family and there would be no justice either on the side of the right or the left, if you are not a good human being.

“So what I believe is, if you are stronger than me, and you are oppressing me, then you are in the wrong. A large number of people oppressing a small group of people is wrong. A battle has to be fought between two equals.”

She further said, “You need to protect the oppressed. Their stature isn’t important.”

How the internet reacted

Shortly after Sai Pallavi’s made the comments, she went viral on Twitter with more than 11,000 tweets.

Many called out the actor for comparing the Kashmiri Pandit exodus in the 1990s to a mob lynching in the name of cow slaughter.

Twitter user Incognito_qfs called the actor ‘an absolute idiot’, and was perturbed that she could compare the killings of innocent Kashmiri Pandits with the killings of cow smugglers.

Another Twitter user BattaKashmiri said, “Dear Sai Pallavi, there is a huge difference between a random Muslim being beaten & an entire community being uprooted. Please don’t trivialise my pain. Come and see any of our broken homes & hearts. We are witnesses to Genocide but await justice. Not Everything is Propaganda.”

Noted defence analyst Major Gaurav Arya (retired) was of the opinion that despite being subject to mass killings and exodus, Kashmiri Pandits never played the victim card.

Another Twitter user was of the opinion that may be Sai Pallavi wasn’t fully aware of the tragedies that Kashmiri Pandits have suffered and invited her to visit refugee camps to gain a better understanding.

However, not everyone on Twitter were unhappy with Sai Pallavi’s comments. Some did the actor for her courage to speak on such a topic with conviction and sensitivity.

Divya Spandana, the former social media head of the Congress, also lauded Sai Pallavi for her remarks.

Sai Pallavi's film Virata Parvam will hit the big screens on 17 June.

With inputs from agencies

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Explained: How actor Sai Pallavi’s comments on Kashmiri Pandit exodus has created a social media storm
Explained: How actor Sai Pallavi’s comments on Kashmiri Pandit exodus has created a social media storm
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