The central government and Bollywood stars hit out at actor Aamir Khan for his remarks that growing intolerance is making his wife Kiran think of leaving India.
The 50-year-old PK star during his outing at an award function Monday evening in New Delhi said he has been “alarmed” by a number of incidents and his wife Kiran Rao even suggested that they should probably leave the country.
Aamir’s comments provoked sharp reactions on Twitter with his industry colleagues Anupam Kher and Ram Gopal Varma, berating him, asking “When did ‘Incredible India’ become ‘Intolerant India’ for you”.
Kher, who shared screen space with Aamir in Dil and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin among others, hit out at him saying, “India has made him what he is”.
“Dear @aamir_khan. Did you ask Kiran which country would she like to move out to? Did you tell her that this country has made you AAMIR KHAN. Did you tell Kiran that you have lived through more worse times in this country but you never thought of moving out,” he posted on Twitter.
Taking a dig at Aamir’s ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ campaign and his popular TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’, Kher added, “Dear @aamir_khan. When did ‘Incredible India’ become ‘Intolerant India’ for you? Only in the last 7-8 months? #AtithiDevoBhavah.
“#SatyamevaJayate you talked about evil practices but gave Hope. So even in ‘Intolerant’ times you need to spread Hope not Fear.”
Varma, who gave Aamir one of his hit films of his career Rangeela, wrote, “Some celebs complaining about intolerance should be the last ones to complain because they became celebs in a so called intolerant country.”
Actor Paresh Rawal said if Aamir believes it is his “motherland then he will never talk about leaving it”.
“Aamir is a fighter so he should not leave but change the situation in the country! jeena yahan marna yahan! A true patriot will not run away and leave his motherland behind in turmoil or in troubled times (if any )… Don’t escape – build it…,” Rawal, who acted with him in Andaz Apna Apna and Akele Hum Akele Tum, posted.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju said, “All this debate is misplaced. There are issues which society as a whole needs to come together and address. But to just make a blatant statement that during the NDA rule, the country has become intolerant unnecessarily tarnishes the image of the nation.”
Records show the number of communal violence incidents have come down since NDA came to power, he added.
Central minister of state for minority affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “The country has given him (Aamir Khan) so much love and respect. I am sure he said it in a hurry or maybe under influence from others.”
“Tolerance is in the DNA of this country. Neither is he going anywhere nor will we let him go,” he added.
However, Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi backed the Bollywood star and accused the government of bullying.
“Instead of branding all those who question the Govt & Modiji – as unpatriotic, anti-national or ‘motivated, the govt would do better to reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them,” @OfficeofRG tweeted.
Earlier this month, another Bollywood star Shah Rukh was attacked by Hindu hardliners after he said in an interview that there was “nothing worse than religious intolerance and that it would take India to the dark ages.”