A day after Union minister Prakash Javadekar sought to distance BJP from general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya’s toxic comments against Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, party MP Yogi Adityanath spewed venom against the actor, saying he should heed 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed of Pakistan since “they speak the same language”.
While Vijayvargiya beat a quick retreat on Wednesday by retracting his tweet that SRK’s heart lies in Pakistan, Adityanath said, “I will welcome the decision of people like Shah Rukh to go to Pakistan on the invitation of Hafiz Saeed.” Saeed had tweeted on Wednesday that India’s disenchanted Muslims and intellectuals feeling persecuted by “Hindu extremists” were welcome in Pakistan.
Adityanath said, “Shah Rukh should understand that if Hindus stop watching his films, he will become like any other common Muslim… There’s no difference in what Shah Rukh and Hafiz Saeed say about intolerance in India.”
Disagreeing with the saffron-clad Adityanath was Sushil Modi, frontrunner for Bihar chief minister if NDA wins the election, who said, “I am a fan of SRK. He’s a great actor. No one should question his patriotism. I don’t support what has been said about SRK.” With hours left for the final phase of Bihar polls, his comments were a clear attempt at damage containment.
Shiv Sena, BJP’s ally in Maharashtra, supported SRK saying the superstar should not be targeted only because he is a Muslim. “Muslims in our country are tolerant,” said the Sena. Sena MP Sanjay Raut slammed Adityanath saying he should not mix up the intolerance issue with Pakistan.
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Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu too said he disapproved of the incendiary remarks against SRK and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah.
“Nobody should speak such nonsense. The statement made by a local functionary in Karnataka is totally condemnable. The party also does not approve of the comments against Shah Rukh Khan,” Naidu said.
BJP’s UP in-charge Om Mathur warned of chastisement of Adityanath saying, “Action will certainly be taken against motor-mouths. They’re directed not to come out with such statements, they would again be directed not to do so. Obviously, they can’t be shunted out of the party for making such remarks.”
But, the fracas within the BJP over SRK continued with Union minister Najma Heptulla holding the actor responsible for the controversy for his comments on “extreme intolerance” in the country. “Had he (Khan) not said anything of that sort, people from my party would not have made such comments. People from my party have not commented on their own, but have only reacted to his remark,” Heptulla said.
BJP sympathizer and yoga teacher Baba Ramdev also attacked Shah Rukh saying he should give up his Padma Shri and all the money he had made after winning the award if he’s genuinely concerned about religious intolerance. “If he is willing to protest, he must also make a draft of all the money… and donate it to the Prime Minister’s (relief) fund,” Ramdev said.
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Earlier, Saeed had tweeted, “We welcome Indian Intellectuals raising voice against intolerance inflicted by Hindu extremists if & whenever they come to Pakistan. We would be pleased to demonstrate to them JuD’s ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts for minorities living in Pakistan. Discrimination against minorities in India particular (sic) Muslims are proof enough that Modi’s India no more secular. It’s fascist Hindu state.”