Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan who is under fire from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for supporting writers who are returning awards claiming ‘growing intolerance’ in the country has found an unexpected supporter in the form of Shiv Sena.
“He is an Indian superstar and should not be linked to Muslims in Pakistan. There is no reason to target him as he is an Indian,” said Sanjay Raut, Sena MP from Rajya Sabha.
Mr. Raut said that actors like him, Salman Khan or Dilip Kumar have become superstars in India despite of whichever religion they belong. “This can happen in only one country in the world and that is India. It clearly shows that we are the most tolerant nation in the world,” he said.
Yogi Adityanath, BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh had targeted Mr. Khan, comparing him to Pakistan’s terrorist Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Another BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya too had stirred up the controversy after he tweeted that Mr. Khan’s soul is in Pakistan though he lives in India. Following the uproar, he withdrew his tweets.
Sending out a word of caution to BJP, Mr. Raut said that barring Mr. Khan all those who are returning awards or coming out against government are Hindus. “So should we ask all those Hindus to go to Pakistan? Why single out him (Mr. Khan) then?” asked Mr. Raut.
Meanwhile, the Sena leader advised the Bollywood superstar to not involve in the mud fight over tolerance. “There is no need for an actor to get involved in this mess. He should realise that 25-something people who are returning the awards does not mean 125 crore Indians are unhappy. This is mud and if you throw your words, your clothes are bound to get dirty,” said Mr. Raut.