Two days after actor Shah Rukh Khan said there was “growing intolerance” in the country, BJP MP Yogi Adityanath Wednesday compared him to Pakistani terrorist and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, and said he is “welcome” to go to Pakistan. His party colleague, MP Ashwini Kumar Choubey, meanwhile said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his RJD ally Lalu Prasad “should go to Pakistan after Bihar assembly polls outcome on November 8”.
Shah Rukh was also attacked by BJP MP and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, who sought to draw a link between his comments and the Bihar polls. Union Minister Najma Heptulla said the actor should guide people on tolerance instead of complaining in this regard. “Had he 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,” she said.
BJP leader Yogi Adityanath’s statement on Shah Rukh Khan. pic.twitter.com/n0QuuQsZG5
— ANI (@ANI_news) November 4, 2015
Meanwhile, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, who had Tuesday said the actor lives in India but his “soul (aatma)” is in Pakistan, retracted his statement but added that had there been intolerance in India, Shah Rukh would not have been the most popular actor after Amitabh Bachchan. He also refused to apologise for his remarks.
BJP ally Shiv Sena, too, weighed in, with MP Sanjay Raut saying that “Shah Rukh Khan should not be targeted only because he is a Muslim”. “This country is tolerant and the Muslims are tolerant as well. Shah Rukh Khan is a superstar only because the country is tolerant and has never thought in the name of religion,” Raut said.
On Wednesday, Adityanath said that if the “majority community” were to boycott his films, Shah Rukh would have to wander the streets like a “common Muslim”. “I am saying these people are speaking the language of terror. I think there is no difference in the language of Shah Rukh Khan 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.
Tiwari, who returned to the Capital after campaigning in Bihar, said Khan’s statement was a “political comment”. “He has issued a statement when the Bihar elections are going on. He has always been close to the Congress,” he said, adding that the actor should join politics if he wants to make such statements.
Officially, the BJP distanced itself from the remarks made by its leaders. “The views of Yogi Adityanath do not reflect the thinking of the BJP and the NDA government,” spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said what Vijayvargiya had said is “not the view of the BJP”. Minister Prakash Javadekar, too, termed it “unacceptable” and said only those authorised to speak should do so.
Several Congress leaders slammed the BJP, with Digvijaya Singh saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should personally apologise to Shah Rukh.