Targeted for being a Muslim: Actor Naseeruddin Shah day after Twitter troll

New Delhi: A day after he was trolled on Twitter for saying the good things about Pakistan must be appreciated by India, actor Naseeruddin Shah said he felt he was targeted for the statement only because he was a Muslim.

“My name is Naseeruddin Shah and I believe that’s why I was targeted. It really pains me to say this. I have never ever been aware of my identity until now,” the celebrated actor told Rajdeep Sardesai in an exclusive interview for India Today TV.
“Four generations of my family have lived in India. I am proud to be an Indian and I will not allow anybody to question my patriotism,” the 66-year-old actor said, asking what was so “anti-Indian” in praising the good things about Pakistan. “If i say Imran Khan is great, does that make Sunil Gavaskar any less a cricketer?” he asked.

“Hate mongers are having a field day in India today,” Shah said, referring to the Shiv Sena’s protest against the launch of a book by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, an event that Shah attended with a host of columnists and intellectuals in Mumbai.
On over 40 writers returning their awards in protest against the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri and a series of murders of writers and rationalists, Shah said he did not approve of their actions. “I wish those writers, instead of returning their awards, had written more strongly on what is happening to India in protest,” he said.

“Awards mean nothing to me and therefore I won’t bother returning them,” Shah, a recipient of Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi and other prestigious awards, said.