Bollywood star-turned-MP Kangana Ranaut allegedly slapped by airport security staff

Actress has made several derogatory remarks about farmers from Punjab and Haryana who protested against new agriculture laws

Bollywood star and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Kangana Ranaut addresses an election rally in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, on May 30, 2024. AP
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Bollywood actress and newly elected MP Kangana Ranaut was allegedly slapped by a member of the security staff at an Indian airport after she called farmers “terrorists”.

Ms Ranaut, 37, represents Mandi constituency in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh as a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

She was going through a security check at an airport in Chandigarh, the shared capital of neighbouring Punjab and Haryana states, on Thursday when she was allegedly slapped by Kulwant Kaur, a police constable in India's Central Industrial Security Force.

The CISF provides security at strategic sites such as airports and historical monuments.

“Today, the incident happened at the security check when I was waiting. A security personnel from CISF, she came from the side and started hitting me on the face and throwing expletives. When I questioned her why she did that, she told me she supports farmers’ protest,” Ms Ranaut said on social media after the incident.

A video clip of Ms Ranaut and CISF personnel arguing went viral on social media, although it does not show her being slapped.

In another video, which has also gone viral, Ms Kaur claimed that she was angry about the actress's comments on the farmers' protests.

“Kangana made a statement that farmers were protesting in Delhi because they were paid 100 or 200 [rupees or $2.40]. Will she go and sit there? My mother was sitting there and protesting when she gave this statement,” said Ms Kaur, 35.

She was suspended, with a complaint filed against her.

Millions of farmers – mainly from Punjab and Haryana, the breadbaskets of India – launched a year-long protest in November 2020, blocking major motorways approaching the capital, New Delhi, as they demanded the repeal of three contentious farm laws.

The farmers say Mr Modi’s government pushed the laws through without consultation and that the legislation was aimed at benefitting big businesses.

Ms Kaur comes from a family of farmers in Punjab. Her brother is part of the farmers' leadership and the secretary of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee that was part of the protest.

Ms Ranaut has made several remarks against the protesting farmers. In a now deleted post on X, she said an elderly woman seen at one of the protests was “available for 100 to 200 rupees”.

She also criticised international pop star Rihanna for expressing support for the farmers, and said they were “terrorists who are trying to divide India”.

The protests forced the government to repeal farm laws in 2021. The issue dealt a blow to Mr Modi's party in Punjab's state elections the following year.

Updated: June 07, 2024, 7:43 AM