Fearing backlash, Dangal girl apologises for meeting J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti

Story By: Govind Singh
Tuesday, January, 17 2017 - 12:09

Two days after she met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Kashmiri teenager Zaira Wasim, who shot to fame for her stellar role in Aamir Khan's blockbuster 'Dangal', tendered a public apology "for her actions".

The apology comes against the backdrop of her being trolled by the online abusers on different social media platforms for calling on Mufti.

Zaira, who played the character of child Geeta Phogat in the film, in a surprise move took to the Facebook apologising to the people who, she said, "have been offended and displeased by her actions or by the people she recently met".

"This is an open confession/apology," the actress wrote on her Facebook page.

What, however, came as a rude shock was Zaira's statement that she was not proud of what she was doing. "I am being projected as a role model for Kashmiri youth, I want to make it very clear that I do not want anyone to follow in my footsteps or even consider me as a role model. I am not proud of what I am doing and I want everyone, especially the youth, to know that there are real role models out there whether they be in this time or in our history. To even consider me as a role model would be disgracing them and their disgrace would be our disgrace," she said.

Zaira's story has an eerie similarity with Praagaash, the all-female rock band, which was disbanded after Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir ud-din Ahmad issued a fatwa calling music un-Islamic in 2013. The band had received abusive and hate messages on the social networking sites before it was disbanded.

A student of St Paul's International Academy, Srinagar, Zaira recently passed the matriculation exams with flying colours. Hailing from the affluent neighbourhood of Srinagar outskirts, Ziara was selected among thousands of girls auditioned for the role of child Geeta Phogat in the Bollywood biopic on wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two daughters. Zaira received rave reviews for her portrayal of child Geeta Phogat in the biopic.

Given her acting prowess, Zaira is all set to act in another movie.

The Facebook post, however, has sparked off massive outrage across the political spectrum in Kashmir. Leading the charge was former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

"I've a problem with Mehbooba Mufti trying to usurp other people's success to cover up her own failures but why punish/troll people she meets? A 16-year-old shouldn't be forced to apologise & that too allegedly for meeting Mehbooba Mufti. What are we coming to!!!!! These people succeed in spite of the government not because of it so it's best to let them enjoy their success instead of trying to hijack it," tweeted Omar.

BJP, which is the ruling alliance partner of PDP, demanded that police take a suo moto notice and arrest those trolling her in a bid to set an example.

"These trolls are from sick extremists who government should put behind bars. Zaira is our daughter. She has made us proud as Kashmiris. We respect her talent. This bullying tactics will not go a long way," said Khalid Jehangir, BJP Spokesman for Kashmir.


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