Chetan Kumar: The Indian actor arrested for a tweet – once more

Picture supply, Chetan Kumar through Twitter

Picture caption,

Chetan Kumar has been arrested for a tweet criticising Hindutva ideology

An Indian actor who was arrested this week over a tweet criticising a Hindu nationalist ideology has usually made headlines for his political beliefs.

Chetan Kumar was arrested on Tuesday over a latest tweet the place he stated the Hindutva ideology promoted by Hindu nationalists “was constructed on lies”.

Native media stories stated Mr Kumar was arrested after a police grievance from a member of a Hindu hard-line group. Police in Karnataka have charged him with “malicious intent to outrage non secular sentiment” and “creating or selling enmity”.

A neighborhood courtroom has despatched the actor to judicial custody for 2 weeks.

That is the second time in simply over a yr that Mr Kumar, 40, has been arrested for a tweet. Final February, he was arrested for tweeting in opposition to a decide who was listening to pleas in opposition to a ban on Muslim women sporting hijabs in faculties. He was later launched on bail.

A US citizen and a Fulbright scholar, Mr Kumar is a fiery anti-caste activist who has taken half in a number of protests in Karnataka.

His supporters say Mr Kumar – who faces a number of police complaints over his remarks on caste and faith – is usually focused for his activism. He has 1000’s of followers throughout social media platforms, the place he steadily posts updates about his work, in addition to his views on politics.

He is additionally usually criticised the Kannada-language movie trade, the place he works. In October, a police case was filed in opposition to him after he stated {that a} efficiency ritual depicted in blockbuster movie Kantara was not part of Hindu traditions.

Regardless of the backlash, the actor has continued to precise his views on-line.

Picture supply, Getty Pictures

Picture caption,

Mr Kumar (in a inexperienced shirt) has participated in a number of protests

On Tuesday, the information of Mr Kumar’s arrest for a second time sparked anger and disquiet.

“He mustn’t have been arrested for a tweet,” says Agni Sridhar, a Kannada movie producer and author. “We might disagree with somebody’s views however that doesn’t imply he ought to be arrested.”

Mr Sridhar was instrumental in Mr Kumar’s entry into movies. Mr Kumar, who grew up in Chicago, got here to India in 2005 to do analysis on theatre as a part of his Fulbright scholarship.

In 2007, he performed the lead in a film known as Aa Dinagalu (These Days), directed by KM Chaitanya. The movie was primarily based on Mr Sridhar’s ebook about his years within the legal underworld of Bangalore – Karnataka’s capital metropolis – within the Nineteen Eighties.

The movie was a box-office success and Mr Kumar’s efficiency was praised by critics – he additionally received a well-liked tv award in Karnataka for the very best debutant of the yr.

Since then, Mr Kumar has acted in round 10 films, together with hits reminiscent of Myna.

However he’s higher recognized for his activism and social work – he works with a number of organisations on the welfare of farmers, Dalits and tribal folks.

A colleague from the Kannada movie trade, who is aware of Mr Kumar nicely, stated on situation of anonymity that the actor “consciously” selected to focus extra on political activism than his performing profession.

In 2021, Mr Kumar wrote within the Deccan Herald newspaper that although he usually confronted racism whereas rising up in Chicago as an individual of color, he realised later that he was additionally the “beneficiary of the caste system again in India”. The caste system dates again over 3,000 years and divides Hindu society into inflexible hierarchical teams.

He added that when he got here to India, he “started to see the obtrusive social and caste variations right here”, which spurred him to hitch anti-caste actions.

Reporting by Imran Qureshi, BBC Hindi

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