BJP leader attacks SRK, likens him to Hafiz Saeed
Govt, party say remarks uncalled for, actor is much respected, loved
NEW DELHI: Hindu radicals escalated their tirade against Shah Rukh Khan over his remarks on intolerance with controversial BJP parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday accusing the Bollywood star of “treason” and comparing him with Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed.
The NDA government struggled to keep BJP MPs and Hindu controversialists on a leash after Khan commented on his 50th birthday on Monday that there was “nothing worse than religious intolerance and that it would take India to the dark ages”.
Party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya ignited the flames on Tuesday with a tweet that Khan “lives in India but his soul is in Pakistan”. He withdrew the tweet a day later after it generated outrage and the BJP leadership issued a strict warning against inflammatory comments.
But the verbal assault continued against Khan. Adityanath, the MP for Gorakhpur, suggested the actor can go to Pakistan, an advice often hurled at him by right-wing forces.
“Shah Rukh Khan should remember that if a huge mass in society would boycott his films, he will also have to wander on streets like a normal Muslim ... I am saying these people are speaking in a terrorist’s language. I think there is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and Hafiz Saeed. His statements amount to treason,” said the MP known for shooting his mouth.
For his part, 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Saeed responded through a tweet that Khan is welcome to live in Pakistan. The Pakistan refrain reflected in the comments of VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi, who had accused Khan in March of spreading a culture of violence in his movies, called him a “Pakistani agent” on Tuesday.
Senior ministers tried to stop the embarrassment the rant was causing the government, which has recently been advised by an international organisation, Moody’s Analytics, to keep BJP members in check or risk “losing domestic and global credibility”. Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described the actor as “a versatile genius universally applauded by all Indians alike”.
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