The firestorm that Kangana Ranaut kicked with her comment that the Independence India won in 1947 was "bheek" intensified on Friday with leaders from BJP and other parties demanding action against the actor even as a complaint was filed against her while some people took to the streets to burn her effigies. There were also demands that the Padma Shri awarded to her should be taken back.
Ranaut, who is often in headlines for her combative statements on issues political or otherwise, kicked off a row on Thursday by declaring that India attained "real freedom" in 2014, when the Narendra Modi-led government came to power, and describing the country's Independence in 1947 as "bheek", or alms.
The actor made the controversial statement just a day after being awarded the Padma Shri. In Jodhpur, the Mahila Congress lodged a police complaint against Ranaut. Jodhpur Mahila Congress Committee president Manisha Panwar in the complaint said Ranaut insulted freedom fighters and people of the country through her statement, which falls under the "category of sedition".
Police said the complaint has been taken up for inquiry. Delhi BJP leader Praveen Shankar Kapoor was among those who slammed the actor, saying that Ranaut's remarks are an "insult to the sacrifice of freedom fighters".
"Being the son of a freedom fighter and coming from a family of freedom fighters, I find Kangana Ranaut's remarks that India's freedom was alms (bheekh) as the biggest misuse of freedom and an insult to the sacrifice made by freedom fighters. I wish the judicial system of India takes cognizance," Kapoor said in a tweet in Hindi on Thursday.
He, however, told PTI on Friday that he tweeted on the issue in his personal capacity. Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said the actor's negative remarks on India's fight for independence were wrong.
"Kangana Ranaut's comment on the country's fight for Independence is completely wrong. Nobody has a right to pass a negative remark on the freedom movement," Patil told reporters, though he added he did not know the "emotions" that made the actor utter such a statement.
"After Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, the common man is having an experience of true freedom. Now, there is no one left in the country who cannot have two meals a day. The Union government is distributing 35 kg food grains to the poor at Rs 105," he claimed.
According to Patil, Ranaut can appreciate Modi's work without criticising the freedom struggle.
Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said Kangana insulted freedom fighters and the Centre must take back her Padma Shri and arrest her.
"Looks like Kangana Ranaut took a heavy dose of Malana cream (a variety of hashish grown in Himachal Pradesh) before making such a statement," Malik said.
In Indore, a group comprising the kin of freedom fighters set afire an effigy of the actor on fire.
The protest was held on MG Road here and one of the participants, Asha Govind Khadiwala, said Ranaut must apologise to the nation for hurting the valour and sacrifice of freedom fighters.
The protesters later submitted a memorandum at the Indore divisional commissioner's office.
NSUI workers in Mumbai also held a protest outside the actor's residence for her controversial statement.
On Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party had submitted an application to the Mumbai Police demanding a case against her for "seditious and inflammatory" comments, while politicians across the spectrum, including BJP MP Varun Gandhi, were among a host of social media users and others who reacted with outrage at Ranaut's comments.
Ranaut has often been in news for her headline grabbling and controversial statements -- be it her long-standing fight with filmmaker Karan Johar on nepotism, locking horns with Diljit Dosanjh on the farmers' protest, her Twitter comments criticising the ruling Shiv Sena government or comparing Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
She was given Y-plus category security by the central government after she said she felt unsafe in Mumbai following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and also spoke of drug use in a section of the film industry.
The actor's account on Twitter was permanently suspended with the company saying it was done "for repeated violation of Twitter rules". The move came after Ranaut's vitriolic comments on the post-poll violence in West Bengal. She now posts her videos and messages on Instagram.