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Suriya Defends His Criticism Of Draft Education Policy

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Actor Suriya has defended his criticism of the central government’s draft education policy saying he has the right to speak about it as a common citizen. He has been facing flak from senior BJP and AIADMK ministers including Kadambur Raju, H Raja and Tamilisai Soundararajan, who accused him of disturbing peace in the state.

In a statement today, he repeated his criticism and said that the shutting down of schools among other rules will affect poor students. He said, “Anyone with a conscience knows that the introduction of a common entrance exam will deprive government school students in villages. They are entitled to good quality and free education.”

He said that his organisation Agaram Foundation is working to increase the number of students who enroll in colleges, and their work shows that NEP is unfavourable to students. Citing examples of those who are practicing medicine today, he said, “They would not have become doctors if they had to clear NEET. Not even one of our students cleared NEET after the exam was introduced. NEP’s recommendation of entrance exams for all degrees is scary and it will erase the dreams of higher education for students in villages.”

He further added that many have criticised him, but he was thankful to the politicians, organisations and media that supported his comments. “I have raised these questions as a common man. We need to discuss the draft policy with education experts and think of those for whom education is the only way to growth.”

Last week, BJP National Secretary H Raja criticised Suriya at a public meeting in Usilampatti in Madurai, accusing him of instigating people against NEP. He said, “Suriya has said that ‘if we keep quiet’ NEP will be implemented. Can he speak like that? Doesn’t that mean that he wants to disturb peace?”

He also defended the three-language policy saying it is optional and will not be imposed, “We need to save the people of Tamil Nadu from groups that are trying to mislead them.” He later tweeted against Suriya’s comments.

BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan said that people with no idea about NEP were commenting on it. Other AIADMK and BJP leaders also supported her views.

However, actor-politician Kamal Haasan, and other directors and actors in the film industry have supported Suriya.

Kamal issued a statement saying he agreed with Suriya and condemned the centre and state government saying Suriya expressed his views on a draft policy that was published to seek public opinion.

Director-producer Pa Ranjith and director Lenin Barathi among others tweeted in his support.

Suriya’s fans have been criticising the BJP and AIADMK using #SuriyaFCwarnsADMKnBJP. Many others also tweeted under #StandWithSuriya.

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