A day after Bollywood actor Aamir Khan joined the chorus of intelligentsia against growing intolerance, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday lashed out at the actor and said his statement hurt the sentiments of the people of India.
Actor Aamir Khan speaks at the 8th edition of Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in New Delhi on Monday. PTI
“We all love Aamir Khan. He is a great actor, who makes even greater movies. But it’s hard to agree with him when he says that India is intolerant. This is ‘Incredible India’ which can never be intolerant. ‘Qayamat se Qayamat tak’ (forever and ever) India will love her people,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
Questioning the actor, who had been the face of the ‘Incredible India’ campaign, Patra asked as to how could the nation which treated outsiders like gods, hurt her own people.
Stating that all this debate is misplaced, Union Minister Kiran Rijiju said, “There are issues which (the) society as whole needs to come together and address. But to just make a blatant statement that during NDA rule country has become intolerant, unnecessarily tarnishes image of nation.”
Fellow industry colleague, Anupam Kher also lashed out at Aamir Khan. Taking to the micro-blogging website, Kher tweeted
Meanwhile, BJP leader Manoj Tiwari slammed Khan saying that the Bollywood actor was free to leave the country if he was so afraid of the prevailing situation.
However, opposition have come out in support of the Bollywood actor.
The Congress said, what the actor is saying, the whole world is saying and asked the current dispensation to pay heed to the message.
“What Aamir Khan, one of the most respected actor, has said in the presence of many senior BJP people is what the whole world is saying, all of India is saying, all right- minded people are saying,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has backed Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for his views on rising intolerance in the nation and urged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government to take steps to instil a sense of security among citizens.
“Every word that @aamir_khan said is so true. I admire him for speaking up,” Kejriwal tweeted.
“BJP shud stop silencing voices thro abuses n threats. Its high time centrl govt took concrete steps 2 instil sense of security amngst people,” he said in another tweet.
Speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, Aamir had said, “As an individual, as part of this country as a citizen, we read in the papers what is happening, we see it on the news and certainly, I have been alarmed. I can’t deny. I have been alarmed by a number of incidents.”
He also said,”When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me,” 50-year-old Aamir said.
(With ANI/PTI inputs)