State government asks for 'immediate and unqualified' apology from Priyanka Chopra

Gangtok, 14 Sept (IPR):

A press conference was held at the Conference Hall of Soochna Bhawan today which had the presence of Tourism and Civil Aviation Department Secretary, Chewang Zangpo along with Cultural Affairs and Heritage Department Secretary, Yasoda Bhandari and Information and Public Relations Department Special Secretary, Namrata Thapa.

The press conference was held to address the statement give by actress Priyanka Chopra while promoting her upcoming film ‘Pahuna’ at the Toronto Film Festival where she referred to the State as an ‘insurgency affected’ state and that Pahuna from her production house is the first Sikkimese film from the region.

Earlier in a meeting regarding the issue with the IPR Special Secretary the Chief Secretary said that a letter should be sent to the actress asking for immediate and unqualified apology to the people of Sikkim and the issue should be clarified with the help of social media as well.

In the press conference, Secretary Tourism said, "We strongly condemn the statement given by the actress about the state. Not only has she hampered the image of the State but she has done irreparable loss to the tourism sector as a whole. We have provided the movie with all logistics and financial support but that was not mentioned."

He also said that the statement regarding the movie being termed as the first Sikkimese movie is utterly false as the State has churned out many movies which have been screened at various film festivals. The first movie which was shot in the State was ‘Jewel Thief’ which dates back as far as 1967.

The Secretary said that Sikkim is one of the most peaceful States in the country and her referring to Sikkim as a State affected by insurgency has hurt not only the state government but also the people who welcomed her with open arms.

The Secretary also stated that although she has apologized via a written mail to the Tourism Minister, the apology letter is also ‘very vague’ and a clearer public apology needs to be made by the actress.

Cultural Affairs Department Secretary said that the statements made by the actress are ‘highly condemnable’ and Sikkim is a peace loving, god fearing and the safest State.

“The image of the State has been tarnished and the actress owes an apology not only to the State Government but also to the people of Sikkim,” she added.

IPR Special Secretary reiterated the fact and said maybe she has not realized the extent of damage caused by her words but it has vastly damaged the image of the State. She also said that Priyanka Chopra should take back her statement and issue a fresh statement through appropriate media as her words have done irreparable damage to the image of the State.

Ms Thapa also said that it is her duty to clear all the doubts created by her statements to the world community and she should clearly spell out the support extended by the state government during the making of the film.