No, Sonu Sood Was Not Stopped From Meeting Migrants. Can We Let a Good Thing Be?

Coronavirus

No, Sonu Sood Was Not Stopped From Meeting Migrants. Can We Let a Good Thing Be?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The one Bollywood personality who has emerged as a real-life hero over the last two months of the Covid-19 lockdown, is actor Sonu Sood. He has proven to be a saviour for several migrant workers and their families, and put in enormous energy and resources into helping them reach their home states. Between arranging buses, train tickets and planes to ferry them home and setting up a helpline to ensure the process is faster and easier, Sood’s dedication has rightfully earned him several praises from all quarters.

But on Monday night, June 8, the actor was stopped from meeting the migrants at Bandra Terminus. According to a Mumbai Police official, the actor had come to meet a few labourers who were to board the Shramik Special train from the terminus to Uttar Pradesh. However, he was stopped by the Railway Protection Force. Shashikant Bhandare, senior inspector at Nirmal Nagar police station, confirmed the incident, adding, “We have not received any complaint regarding this till now.”

However, earlier today Sood refuted these claims in his tweet stating that no such incident occurred. “I absolutely respect the protocols and have duly followed it,” he wrote.

The actor also went on to thank Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, along with Aditya Thackeray and MLA Aslam Shaikh, in a follow-up tweet, expressing his gratitude for helping him “bring a smile on the faces of all migrants!”

It was only a few days ago that Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, editor of the party’s mouthpiece Saamna, had criticised Sood and his humanitarian act in his weekly column, lamenting his work as a political move backed by the BJP.

In his column, Raut questioned the sudden rise of “Mahatma” Sood, stating that it was a deliberate attempt to taint the image of the Maharashtra ruling government amid the lockdown. He also mentioned that during a “sting operation” against the actor, prior to the 2019 General Election, Sood had endorsed the BJP-led government, willingly promoting the party on his social platforms in exchange for money.

Ironically, the very same day as the column was released, Uddhav Thackeray lauded Sood’s initiative to help the stranded migrants and acknowledged his hard work. Later that night, the actor also went on to visit the CM at the latter’s residence.

Needless to say, Raut’s claims backfired and were received well neither by Sood’s admirers, nor Raut’s readers.

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis too did not hesitate to take a dig at the opposition for politicising the actor’s relief work. He went on to say that while he is happy that Shiv Sena chooses to associate with those who perform good deeds with BJP, “but Sonu Sood should be appreciated for his selfless work.”

Following Sood’s statement to clear the air, netizens are wondering if the actor is being pressured by the government after the whole fiasco in the past two days.

While some others have pointed at the party’s double standards.

Although the game of politics continues to remain unclear, Sood’s one-man initiative continues to thrive.

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