“Hateful and Derogatory”: Mumbai Court Orders Inquiry Into Kangana Ranaut’s Comments on Muslims

Social Commentary

“Hateful and Derogatory”: Mumbai Court Orders Inquiry Into Kangana Ranaut’s Comments on Muslims

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut has spent most of the year thrusting herself into the limelight, but all the publicity she has been receiving has had very little to do with her film projects. Rather, 2020 is the year Ranaut has emerged as an outspoken, self-proclaimed nationalist, which in her case involves unwavering support of Bharatiya Janata Party, while launching verbal attacks on those who espouse values like liberalism and secularism. Ranaut has been accompanied on this rebranding mission by her sister, Rangoli Chandel, who also maintained a vocal presence on Twitter until the social media platform suspended her account for violating their terms on harmful speech. Now, the many barbs Ranaut has aimed at everyone from her peers in Bollywood to the state government of Maharashtra and even protesting farmers, are bearing fruit in the form of courts in two separate states ordering police inquiries into the conduct of Ranaut and Chandel on social media.

Yesterday, on October 29, a Mumbai court ordered a police inquiry into comments made by Ranaut relating to the Tablighi Jamaat event held in Delhi at the very start of the coronavirus pandemic in India. In April this year, both Ranaut and Chandel made offensive comments against members of the Tablighi Jamaat. The complaint, filed by advocate Ali Kashif Khan Deshmukh, states, “Thus, both the accused posted hateful and derogatory statements against [the] Muslim community.” The magistrate then ordered a police inquiry into the comments and videos posted by the sisters, saying, “Evidence against the accused appears to be electronic in nature. Therefore, inquiry at the hands of police is necessary for proceeding against the proposed accused.”

This is the second such order from a Mumbai court against Ranaut. Earlier this month, a Bandra court ordered the police to file an FIR against Ranaut and Chandel for allegedly attempting to create communal tension through their social media profiles.

Ranaut’s comments on the farmers’ protests taking place across the country, where she referred to those organising the protests as “terrorists”, has also attracted litigation. Karnataka Police in Bangalore filed an FIR against the actress for her comments.

The famously combative Ranaut remains unfazed by the legal action against her.