Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s remark at an awards event here about allegedly growing “intolerance” in the country drew mixed reactions from political circles and the social media. A police complaint was also filed against him.
Expressing his views at an event, the actor had said, “For the past six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency. Kiran (Aamir’s wife) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment.”
BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said: “Some isolated examples, however extreme, are exceptions to India’s inherent tolerant nature. It would be unfortunate to let isolated examples be taken as a norm that defines India.” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju also said that such blatant remarks are tarnishing the image of the nation even though the records show that communal violence has decreased in the country ever since the NDA came to power.”
However, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi supported Aamir and tweeted, “Instead of branding all those who question the government and Modiji as unpatriotic, anti-national or ‘motivated’, the government would do better to reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them. That’s the way to solve problems in India — not by bullying, threatening and abusing!” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also supported the actor, and tweeted: “BJP should stop silencing voices through abuses and threats. It’s high time that the central government took concrete steps to instill a sense of security amongst people.”
The BJP was quick to react. “We completely reject the comment of Aamir Khan. He is not scared, but he is trying to scare people. Aamir Khan makes a comment and Rahul Gandhi supports it. It becomes clear from Gandhi’s comment that there is a conspiracy going on in the country to defame the nation,” said BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain.
A police complaint was lodged by short filmmaker Ullhas PR with Delhi Police over the remarks.
The Bollywood, too, reacted. Anupam Kher, Ram Gopal Varma and Ashoke Pandit condemned Aamir, saying that he must spread hope and not fear. Anupam Kher tweeted, “Dear @aamir_khan. Did you tell Kiran that you have lived through worse times in this country and but you never thought of moving out… When did ‘Incredible India’ become ‘Intolerant India’ for you? Only in the last seven to eight months? #AtithiDevoBhavah.”
Veteran award winning director Saeed Mirza told the media, “Look, you have points of view. Let them be heard. I heard about the statement of Aamir Khan this morning. In fact, I read about it. He has a point of view, let it be heard. We can debate it.”