Held outside Mumbai for the first time, the Filmfare Awards this year saw several Bollywood stars fly into Guwahati on Saturday as fans came out in thousands at the airport to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebrities.
The event also encountered a peaceful protest by those demonstrating against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
A group of anti-CAA protesters, led by a famous Assamese folk singer Manas Robin carried placards to draw Bollywood’s attention towards the anti-CAA protests in Assam.
The protesters held placards with the messages like ‘Dear Sir, Akshay Kumar, we love you so much’, ‘Dear Madhuri ma’am, we love you so much’, and waved it at Bollywood stars before being chased away by the police. Some protesters were detained and released later, police sources said.
The protesters were not against the Filmfare Awards, but they wanted to send a message to bollywood by their protests. They wanted the film industry to be aware of why Assam has been strongly protesting against the controversial new citizenship law, Manas Robin said.
Massive protests against the CAA, which makes religion test of citizenship in India for the first time, have swept the country in the last three months. The government has said it will grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2015.
While critics say that the law can be used to target Muslims in combination with the planned National Register of Citizens or NRC, the government says it is intended to help those who have faced religious persecution in the neighbouring countries.
The law has also seen severe opposition in Assam and other northeastern states where indigenous communities believe it could be used to legalise lakhs of settlers from Bangladesh.