Several Bollywood celebrities skip CAA meeting with Union Minister Piyush Goyal

Protests broke out across India after the Citizenship Amendment Bill was cleared by Parliament and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind into an Act.

Mumbai: On Sunday several Bollywood celebrities skipped a special meeting with Union minister Piyush Goyal in Mumbai to discuss the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, producers Ritesh Sidhwani and Bhushan Kumar, director Abhishek Kapoor and actor Ranvir Shorey were among to attend the meeting at a suburban hotel, in presence of BJP vice-president Baijayant Jay Panda.

Ranvir Shorey said “It was a good meeting. It’s great to see the government reach out to clear the air regarding the CAA,”. “We all were also told that more such meetings are being organized with people from different walks of life,” he added. “I anyway had no issues with the CAA and I hope more people are not misguided about it affecting any Indian citizenship.”

Filmmaker Rahul Rawail was the first to arrive, followed by Anu Malik, Ritesh Sidhwani, who left within 20 minutes; Prasoon Joshi, filmmaker Kunal Kohli, actor Shailesh Lodha, singers Kailash Kher, Roop Kumar Rathod, and Shaan. Producer couple Anu and Shashi Ranjan were also present in the meeting.

While the meeting continued, a bunch of people staged a demonstration outside the hotel premises against the amended Citizenship Act. They held up placards against the government and Bollywood. “Bollywood we are watching. #MumbaiAgainstCAA,” one of the poster’s text. Another placard text: “Don’t disappoint your fans. Reject CAA, NPR, NRC.”

According to sources, on Friday producer Mahaveer Jain sent the invite for the meeting to the industry insiders.

Mahaveer Jain had also organized the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last January. A selfie featuring many Bollywood stars with Modi during that meeting had gone viral on social media.

The text of the invitation card for Sunday’s meeting read: “The agenda of the meeting will be to facilitate a discussion on myths and realities pertaining to the CAA.”

The invitation card was also sent to other bigwigs of the industry, including Javed Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Richa Chadha, Kabir Khan, and Karan Johar, but none of them turned up for the meeting. An industry insider, who turned down the invite, said it was obvious because “the meeting will be about nonsense”.

However, the invite was not given to actor Swara Bhasker, filmmakers Anubhav Sinha and Anurag Kashyap and all vocal celebrities about their stand against the controversial CAA.

Protests broke out across India after the Citizenship Amendment Bill was cleared by Parliament and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind into an Act.

According to the CAA people from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come to India till December 31, 2014, from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan due to religious persecution they will be given Indian citizenship. The agitators claim that the legislation was “unconstitutional and divisive” as it excludes Muslims.

Some other Bollywood celebrities have expressed their disappointment over the Citizenship Amendment Act are Farhan Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Parineeti Chopra, Richa Chadha, and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub.

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