Actor Zaira Wasim, who shot to fame for her portrayal of the young Geeta Phogat in Dangal, issued an “open confession/apology” on Monday, after she faced massive criticism for meeting Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday. “I want to apologise to all those I’ve unintentionally hurt… I understand their sentiments, especially considering what has happened [in Kashmir] over the past six months,” she said in a statement issued on Twitter.
The young actor was referring to the state of unrest in the Valley since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. “I hope people still remember that I’m just a 16 year old girl and I hope you treat me accordingly… I really hope people can forgive me,” she said, adding that it was not a “deliberate decision”.
Wasim further urged people to not project her as a “role model for the Kashmiri youth”. “I want everyone, especially the youth, to know that there are real role models out there. To even consider me as a role model would be disgracing them,” she said.
Geeta Phogat, the wrestler who won India’s first gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, has supported Wasim. Phogat told a television news channel that Wasim was an excellent role model for the whole country and that she did not need to apologise. Wasim has also garnered support from politicians, including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.