Controversial parliamentarian of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Yogi Adityanath Wednesday compared Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to 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.
However, BJP termed Adityanath’s remarks as “uncalled for” which did not in any way reflect the core belief of the party or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Heaping praise on the actor, who was also attacked by senior party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya on Tuesday, BJP said there cannot be any comparison between a law-abiding Indian citizen and a Pakistani terrorist.
The pro-Hindu party Shiv Sena also condemned Adityanath’s remarks adding the superstar should not be targeted just because he is a Muslim.
“This country is tolerant and the Muslims are tolerant as well,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.
Adityanath, hitting out at Shah Rukh two days after the actor added his voice to the protest by the intelligentsia against the ’climate of intolerance’, also suggested that he go to Pakistan.
The MP from Gorakhpur said Shah Rukh should remember that if a “huge mass” of people in the country would boycott his films, he would also have to wander on streets like a “normal Muslim”.
On Tuesday, 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, he withdrew his controversial tweets Wednesday but asserted that had there been intolerance in India, Shah Rukh 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 the two 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”, Adityanath said “unfortunately”, Shah Rukh has also matched their voice and lent his support.
According to Adityanath, this was not for the first time Shah Rukh was doing this.
“These people are speaking in a terrorist’ language. I think there is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh 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.
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.
The Congress reacted to 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 Vadakkan.