Saffron tolerance mask comes off: Aamir trolled for reflecting on rising fear
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan on Tuesday found himself in the center of a political storm over his remarks on intolerance, with the BJP sharply criticizing him and the Congress stoutly defending him. The actor-producer’s candid remarks at an awards event in New Delhi the previous day set Twitter abuzz and left the film fraternity divided.
Aamir, 50, had said: “For the last six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency I would say. Kiran (his wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.”
Congress Veep Rahul Gandhi suggested that the Narendra Modi government reach out to the people to know why they felt disturbed.
Rahul tweeted: “Instead of branding all those who question the government and Modiji as unpatriotic, anti-national or ‘motivated’, the government would do better to reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them.”
In a quick rebuttal, the BJP said Rahul supporting Aamir’s comment only reeks of a conspiracy to defame the nation.
“We completely reject the comment of Aamir Khan. He is not scared but he is trying to scare people. Aamir Khan makes a comment and Rahul Gandhi supports it. It becomes clear from Gandhi’s comment that there is a conspiracy going on in the country to defame the nation,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
A complaint was lodged against the “PK” star by short filmmaker Ullhas PR with Delhi Police over the remarks. Meanwhile, hundreds of activists of the Hindu Sena on Tuesday staged a loud demonstration outside Khan’s residence in Mumbai. They were detained and security beefed up around Aamir’s house.
And stoking further the ongoing debate on the rising intolerance in the country, BJP parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath said in New Delhi that people were free to leave as it will reduce the country’s population.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal supported the actor, and tweeted: “BJP should stop silencing voices through abuses and threats. It’s high time that the central government took concrete steps to instill a sense of security amongst people.”
Several members of the film fraternity, including Anupam Kher, Ram Gopal Varma and Ashoke Pandit, slammed Aamir, saying that he must spread hope and not fear.
There also were some who backed Aamir — music composer Vishal Dadlani of the Vishal-Shekhar duo, filmmaker Sanjay Gupta and veteran award-winning director Saeed Mirza, to name a few.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt told a television channel: “Whatever he said was in a simple manner and what his wife told him. If people have issues and are afraid to live in India, the government should come forward and address those issues. Yes, the situation of the country has changed, it is not a political statement, it is the government’s duty to listen to such voices.”
Pakistani filmmaker Jamshed Mahmood Raza said: “If Aamir Khan is speaking out about intolerance and facing a backlash, the Indian actor is probably right.”