Rupayana Jha, who was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2016, has spoken out about her experiences of discrimination and violence at the hands of the Dalit community.
In a video posted on her official Facebook page on Friday, the former Bollywood actor, whose name has been changed for privacy reasons, spoke about her time working in a cinema and how she and her co-star Rupaji Bajpayee were treated as second-class citizens.
Jha said she was asked to clean up after her co actors while they were filming.
“When we went to the toilet, they said they had to clean us up and not to touch us,” she said.
“They had to make us clean a glass and then put it in the toilet.”
Jha also spoke about the treatment she and Bajpai received at the time of their induction into the Indian Film Institute in New Delhi.
Jho also spoke of how she was bullied and intimidated by the Dalits.
“I remember once, they (Dalits) used to make fun of me, they were trying to make me cry, they’d try to make my hair curl,” she explained.
“We were in a movie and we were talking and they’d be like, ‘Who are you?’
And then, one of them would make a comment and I would cry.”
She added: “Then one of the other actors would get angry and say, ‘Are you crying because we beat you up?’
And I would say, yes.
And then they would ask why I was crying.”
Jho’s comments come just weeks after the Bollywood superstar, who is also known as “Mama Rupu”, was honoured by the institute with the ‘Padma Bhishan’ award.
The award ceremony is an opportunity for Dalits to show their bravery and bravery to the world.
However, after her acceptance speech, Jha was attacked by a group of Dalit women in the auditorium.
A video of the attack went viral.
“When they got into the auditoria, I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t speak.
I just kept quiet,” she added.
Jhas plight was also highlighted during the 2017 Delhi assembly election campaign.
“I came in the booth for the election campaign and I got beaten up by people.
I cried and said, ‘I voted for you’,” she said in the video.
Jha later said she didn’t want to vote for the party because it had “no backbone”.
“I didn’t vote for a party that’s just going to stand by the caste system.
The people who are against Dalit people should be against caste,” she insisted.
“People are not for caste.
They are for the nation.
They want us to be caste-less.
But if you want to be a Dalit, you can be a woman,” she concluded.
A similar incident took place in 2018, when Jha’s co-stars and her sister were attacked by an unidentified mob for speaking out against the casteism of their respective families.
Earlier this year, a petition was filed to the Supreme Court seeking to remove Jha from the Padmasana.
The petition was lodged by activist and actor-activist Sunil Kalia, who said that she was abused and verbally abused by the former actor while she was working as a model.
“She used to abuse me and her family,” Kalia alleged in the petition.
Last week, Jhoteel Babu, a senior advocate of Dalits in the Supreme Courts, said the award ceremony should not be held “as a ceremony for the honour of a single woman”.
“It’s not a ceremony where we should celebrate one person, but we should honour the legacy of all of the women who have fought for justice and equality,” he said.
Jha’s comments comes just weeks before the BHIMA awards are due to be announced.
While the award ceremonies are usually held to honour Indian women, the Bhimas are often attended by the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, Chief Ministers and senior bureaucrats.