BJP leader at­tacks SRK, likens him to Hafiz Saeed

Govt, party say re­marks un­called for, ac­tor is much re­spected, loved

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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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