New Delhi: Months after Bollywood actor Aamir Khan’s comment on alleged intolerance in the country sparked a debate, defence minister Manohar Parrikar described the Bollywood actor’s remark as “arrogant”.
The Union minister, without naming Khan, said, “One actor had said that his wife wants to live out of India. It was an arrogant statement. If I am poor and my house is small, I will still love my house and always dream to make a bungalow out of it.”
Parrikar, who was speaking in Pune at the release of the Marathi version of journalist-author Nitin Gokhale’s book on Siachen, drew sharp response from the opposition Congress party.
Parrikar’s statement indicates nobody has a space to dissent in India,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Is Parrikar’s “job to protect India from external aggressors like Pakistan or threaten fellow countrymen like actor Aamir Khan?” he posted on Twitter.
The Congress’ salvo came against the backdrop of protests against attacks on Dalits, Muslims and other minorities in the two years of NDA rule.
In November last year, the “PK” actor joined the chorus against “growing intolerance”. Khan said he was “alarmed” by the number of incidents and his wife, Kiran Rao, even suggested that they leave the country.
“When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.
“That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me,” Khan said.
According to Parrikar, when the actor made the statement last year, many people had protested against his remark and even uninstalled the mobile application of an online shopping site he was associated with. The e-tailer had later ended the endorsement contract with the actor.
Surjewala said Parrikar’s statement proved a “concerted conspiracy” to curb all dissent, hound Dalits and minorities.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook