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Deepika Padukone joins protest at JNU against Sunday's goon attack

The actress showed up at the protest site just days before her film Chhapaak is due to be released.

Our Correspondent

Actress Deepika Padukone has become the first big Hindi film star to show solidarity with the students of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The students have been protesting after a night of terror was unleashed on the campus on Sunday by thugs claiming allegiance to a little-known group called the Hindu Raksha Dal. Several students and teachers were injured in the attack.

In a surprise move, Padukone walked up to the protest site where a large group of students stood with banners and is seen standing with them for a while earlier this evening.

Padukone's much talked about film Chhapaak is being released on Friday 10 January. Rightwing trolls on social media were quick to label her move a publicity stunt and urge people to boycott the film.

But there is no doubt that this is a brave move on the part of the actress, even though it is likely to give sleepless nights to her Chhapaak co-producers (Padukone herself is among the producers of the film on acid-attack survivors).

Quite a few films in recent times have been subjected to violent protests for the opinions expressed by members of their cast and crew, or for allegedly hurting the sentiments of one or the other religious community. Films like Fanaa (2006), My Name Is Khan (2010) and PK (2014) are some examples.

A man named Pinky Chaudhary, who announced himself as head of the Hindu Raksha Dal, has claimed responsibility for Sunday's lawlessness on the campus of India's leading university. The police, however, are yet to arrest him.