United Nations goodwill ambassador and famed Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, among other Indian celebrities, is facing criticism for voicing Mahsa Amini’s death in Iran but choosing to remain silent on human rights violations against Muslims in her home country, India.
Chopra, 40, who lives in the US, took to Instagram where she has over 82 million followers, to support the protests in Iran, hailing women for fighting the government, asking followers to “stay informed and be vocal”.
“To ensure that this movement will have a lasting effect, we must hear their call, understand the issues and then join in with our collective voices,” she wrote.
Irani women are protesting in support of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl who died in custody after being detained for not wearing the hijab “properly”. Thousands have taken to the streets, publicly burnt their hijabs, and cut their hair, protesting against the authorities. Dozens have been reported to be killed amid the chaos.
Chopra said that she was in “awe” of the courage of these women, adding that it was “not easy to risk life, to challenge the patriarchal establishment, and fight for your rights.”
The UNICEF goodwill ambassador is, however, being criticised for her “double standards”, that is, not speaking for Muslim women in India, who have been attacked for wearing hijab in multiple Islamophobic incidents.
Indian journalist Rana Ayyub posted a video of a BJP MP announcing a financial boycott of Muslims to point out how celebrities speak about Iran but neglect the “fascism” at home.
“Indian celebrities speaking about Iran will look the other way through this fascism and apartheid in their home country.”
A law professor and author Khalid Beydoun posted a screenshot of Chopra’s post and asked her if she had “any word to say” about the conditions in India’s Karnataka and its anti-hijab laws
Ashok Swain, a professor at Uppsala University, who has more than 450,000 followers on Twitter asked the same question.
Indian technology journalist Abhishek Baxi wrote: “Priyanka Chopra comes out in support of everyone except Indians.”
Activist and poet Nabiya Khan said Chopra’s “activism of convenience” was “pukeworthy”.
Another Indian journalist Mirza Arif Beg pointed at Indian TV anchors cutting their hair in solidarity with Muslims while “working for a media house baying for Muslims’ blood”.
This is not the first time Chopra has shown “selective outrage”.
In 2020, she was criticised for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in the US but not speaking a word about the minorities in India.
“Priyanka Chopra stands up for American black lives and Iranian women because doing so adds to her “woke” credentials in the US but never for Indian Muslims because doing so hurts her “nationalist” credentials in India,” said a Twitter user.
The dual standards of Indian celebrities and media houses are being noticed by social media users with some leaving comments on Chopra’s original post as well.
Not long ago, a study by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) on Islamophobia showed that most anti-Muslim content on Twitter originates from India.
Human Rights Watch reported a surge in summary punishments of Muslims in India.
Human rights group Amnesty International also recently condemned the flogging of Muslim men by Indian police in the state of Gujarat and called it a “serious human rights violation” showing “utter disrespect towards the law”.