Leading South Indian actress Sai Pallavi issued a clarification on Saturday evening after her statements in an interview about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 90s set off a controversy on social media. During the promotions for her upcoming Telugu film, Virata Parvam, on a YouTube channel, the Maari 2 and NGK actress had spoken against violence in the name of religion. She referred to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits as being wrong, while also adding that cow vigilantism was an immoral act. Sai Pallavi's statements in the interview had drawn mixed reactions on social media, with a section of fans criticizing her, while others applauded her for being bold. 

Taking to Instagram, Sai Pallavi appeared on video to convey that her intention all along was to speak about how the use of violence in the name of religion is wrong and added that the interview was taken out of context. She said, "This is the first time that I am getting in touch with all to clarify something and I think this will be the first time that I will be thinking twice before I speak my heart because I am anxious that my words might be misinterpreted. So forgive me, if I take longer than usual to communicate my thoughts. In a recent interview, I was asked whether I was a supporter of the Left or the Right Wing and I clearly stated that I believe I am neutral and we need to be good human beings first before we identify ourselves with our beliefs. And the oppressed need to be protected at any cost."

Sai Pallavi further stated that she could never downplay a tragedy, but neither could she accept the violence of mob lynching. She said, "I don’t think any of us has the right to take another person’s life. Being a medical graduate, I believe that all lives are equal and all lives are important. I hope the day does not come when a child is born and he or she is scared of his or her identity. I pray we are not heading towards that." Sai Pallavi added that she felt isolated and conflicted after the reaction to her comments and wondered what she had done wrong. She added, "I must quote an incident, when I had a chance to speak to the director of The Kashmir Files, and expressed my dissatisfaction with the people's suffering at the time. I said that I was traumatized for days together. Being who I am, I would never minimize a tragedy such as the genocide and the generations of people who have been affected by it. Having said that, I cannot forget the incident of a man being lynched, which obviously, had as much impact as the above incident on me. I believe that violence in any form is unacceptable and that it is a big sin to commit it in the name of faith." 

Sai Pallavi explained, "This is all I had to say, but it was distressing to see so many people rationalizing the mob lynching incident on the Internet. I don't believe any of us has the authority to take another person's life. As a medical graduate, I think that all lives are valuable and equal. I pray the day never comes when a child is afraid of his or her own individuality. I hope we aren't moving in that direction. I recall chanting 'All Indians are my brothers and sisters' when I was 14 years old, and it stuck with me for the rest of my life. It was also quite disappointing to find that a number of well-known people and websites had carried a fragment from a previous interview without having seen the entire interview or the sincerity of what was stated." 

Sai Pallavi ended the video by saying, "I'd like to take this occasion to express my gratitude to those who stood by me when I was feeling so alone and uncertain, unsure of what wrong I had done. It was uplifting to see so many individuals speaking up in favor of me. They seemed to recognize me for who I am. Happiness, peace, and love to you all." 

Watch Sai Pallavi's clarification on her Instagram below: 


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