Controversial Bharatiya Janata Party MP Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday compared Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan with Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of Mumbai carnage, over his “extreme intolerance” comment.
This is the second attack on the actor by a BJP leader in as many days, sparking condemnation.
Hitting out at the actor two days after he added his voice to the protest by the intelligentsia against the ’climate of intolerance’, Mr. Adityanath also suggested that he go to Pakistan.
Mr. Adityanath, the MP from Gorakhpur, said Shah Rukh Khan should remember that if a “huge mass” of people in the country would boycott his films then he would also have to wander on streets like a “normal Muslim“.
On Tuesday, senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya triggered a controversy when he painted Shah Rukh as an “anti-nationalist.” In a series of tweets, he said the actor’s “soul” is in Pakistan though he lived in India.
Under fire for the remark, Mr. Vijayvargiya, a BJP general secretary, on Wednesday withdrew his controversial tweets but asserted that had there been intolerance in India, Shah Rukh Khan would not have been the most popular actor after Amitabh Bachchan. He, however, refused to apologise for his remarks.
The attack against Shah Rukh Khan by BJP leaders came notwithstanding the refrain of BJP’s top brass in the recent weeks that partymen avoid sensitive comments.
Claiming that in the name of secularism some artists and authors with radical views have started speaking as “anti-nationals”, Mr. Adityanath said “unfortunately”, Shah Rukh Khan has also matched their voice and lent his support.
According to Mr. Adityanath, this was not for the first time that Shah Rukh was doing this “Shah Rukh Khan should remember that if a huge mass in society would boycot his films, he will also have to wander on streets like a normal Muslim....I am saying these people are speaking in a terrorist’ language. I think there is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and Hafiz Saeed,” he said.
“We welcome that people go there [Pakistan], at least people who defame India will understand their own originality,” he added.
The Congress reacted to Mr. Adityanath’s statement, saying it was condemnable and would cause tension.
“This is a condemnable statement and nobody can send an individual to Pakistan,” Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said.His party colleague P C Chacko feared such comments would create tension.
“If you have views against the dispensation of this country you go to Pakistan... anybody wants to tweet something he has to go to Pakistan.. Are they trying to promote Pakistan tourism?,” asked Mr. Vadakkan.
Sadhvi Prachi, controversial Hindutva leader, also hit out at Shah Rukh Khan on Tuesday, dubbing him a “Pakistani agent” for his comment on Monday when he turned 50 that there was “extreme intolerance” in the country.