Bollywood superstar Salman Khan got embroiled in a controversy when photographs of a “Shivling” covered with wooden planks during the shooting of his film Dabangg 3 surfaced on social media on Thursday.
Salman, who is shooting for the film in the religious town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh, later issued a clarification and said the “Shivling” was covered with wooden planks to protect the idol and maintain its sanctity.
The film’s set was created on the banks of the river Narmada in Maheshwar.
The photographs, which went viral on social media, triggered a war of words between the ruling Congress and the main opposition BJP.
BJP MLA from Huzur in Bhopal district Rameshwar Sharma, in a statement, said incidents of religious sentiments of Hindus getting hurt have gone up ever since the Kamal Nath-led Congress government was formed in December last year.
He demanded registration of an FIR against those behind the incident, which he claimed, showed disrespect to Lord Shiva.
Talking to reporters, state Congress Media Department chief Shobha Oza said BJP leaders have a “narrow mindset”.
“We are not required to respond to Sharma’s statement, but due to narrow mindset of BJP leaders, the state did not see development during the 15-year rule of the party,” she said.
Congress leader and Madhya Pradesh’s Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Jitu Patwari defended the popular Bollywood superstar and hit out at the saffron outfit.
“Salman is such a wonderful actor who always spread the message of religious harmony. But, the BJP’s thinking is full of hatred and this party want to take political advantage by creating enmity among people.
“The BJP should give up this kind of mindset and stop creating hurdles in development of the state,” Patwari said.
Salman, hurt over the controversy, came in front of the media at Maheshwar and issued a clarification.
According to local media reports, the Bollywood star said the wooden planks were kept on the ‘Shivling’ to protect it and maintain its sanctity during the shooting of the movie.
The local line producer and set construction company said, “We had constructed the perimeter for the Shivling and had put two people on the side to guard it and to avoid people from walking on it. We had no intention of hurting anyone’s religious sentiments and we have relocated the set.”
— Salman Khan (@BeingSalmanKhan) April 4, 2019
Salman has been shooting for the movie, the third installment of the Dabangg franchise, since Monday, while actress Sonakshi Sinha started shooting from Thursday.