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Activist slams Mohanlal for supporting Dutt
BY ASHRAF PADANNA March 25, 2013
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TRIVANDRUM: A Kerala based non-government organisation (NGO) has petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister AK Antony to oust Mohanlal from Territorial Army (TA) for speaking out against conviction of Sanjay Dutt.

The Malayalam superstar had written on his Facebook wall saying that the Bollywood superstar “certainly deserves our compassion and help to put this chapter behind him once and for all” and “I sincerely hope and pray that he is shown the leniency he truly deserves and is granted a pardon.”

Testifying that Dutt was his colleague and friend over the last 20 years, he said he had been a reformed and good citizen, a loving family man and a person who has braved adversity and come out stronger and better.

In his letter which he said he faxed to the president and defence minister on Saturday, Eby J. Jose, chairman of Mahatma Gandhi National Foundation, also wanted the superstar, who was inducted into the voluntary force to help the army in emergencies, to be subjected to court martial.

Mohanlal joined Territorial Army as Hon. Lieutenant Colonel on 9 July 2009 and he is the first and only actor who have been conferred this title.

He had also completed a few training sessions at army camps for the voluntary arm which used to participate in military operations in supporting roles.

“Besides being inducted into TA, he has been awarded Padma Shree, and he has the obligation to respect the nation’s laws and its ethos,” said Jose.

“We have been closely watching his activities since he was accorded with the nation’s third highest civilian honour in 2001.”

In 2007, the NGO petitioned VS Achuthanandan, the then chief minister, after Mohanlal appeared in a television commercial for a brand of whisky, Original Choice, asking viewers “What’s up this evening?” The state’s taxes department later took action against the liquor firm.

It also shot off a protest note to the parents, wife and children of the superstar with a question: “Would you like to see a tipsy Mohanlal sauntering home every evening?”

The 52-year-old who has won four national awards during his acting career spanning over 35 years has some 700,000 followers on Facebook.

He also comments on sociopolitical issues regularly on his blog.

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