Bollywood star Salman Khan today apologised for his remarks on Mumbai attacks aired on a Pakistani channel. However, he claimed that the Pakistani channel twisted his comment from the interview, and that made it sound very insensitive.
Clarifying on his remarks, he said, "I gave an interview about three weeks ago and now in this festive time of Eid and Ganesh utsav, it has been twisted areound. And now the way it is coming across on TV, it is sounding insensitive. I was just saying that life is equal, garib aadmi ho, ameer aadmi ho (whether it is a poor man or rich man), some attacks get more media coverage than others why is that? I think every human life is as important. Any act of terrorism anywhere in the world is unpardonable. A terrorist has no nationality, religion, no guts. I have and always will have faith in our intelligence agencies, armed forces, police force. I did not mean to hurt anyone's sentiments. And if I have hurt anyone's sentiments, I am really, really sorry."
Salman Khan came under severe criticism for saying during an interview to a Pakistani channel that the 26/11 attacks were hyped because "elite people" were targeted.
The comments prompted angry reactions from political parties with the Shiv Sena calling them "anti national". Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal and BJP too reacted sharply to the star's statement.
"It was the elite that was targeted this time. Five star hotels and all. So they panicked. Then they got up and
spoke about it. My question is why not before. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked
about it so much," the 44-year-old actor had said during an interview to Express 24/7 channel.
The Shiv Sena today demanded that Khan apologise for the statement.
"The 26/11 attacks were a war against the nation. Salman should apologise for his remarks. Ambani was not staying at the CST, nor was Tata or Birla staying in Cama Lane," Sena leader Sanjay Raut said referring to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama Lane, which were among the places targetted by terrorists.
Meanwhile Bhujbal called the statement "uninformed".
"He is an actor. He does not have the information to make a comment on whether the Pakistani govt was involved or not. People travelling in taxis, constables, waiters, hotel workers, all lost their lives in the attacks," said Bhujbal.
"26/11 attack was an attack on India. We cannot forget that Indian citizens were killed. This was not a small issue for Salman Khan to comment. This was an attack meticulously planned by Pakistan," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson.
The attacks had left 166 people dead. Eight of the attacks occurred in south Mumbai at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Orthodox Jewish-owned Nariman House, the Metro Cinema.
Condemning the actor's remarks, Special Prosecutor in 26/11 trial Ujwal Nikam said that the statement was "childish".
However, vouching for Salman Khan and his family's "unflinching" commitment to secularism, his father Salim Khan today said the Bollywood actor was ready to apologise for his reported remark on 26/11 Mumbai terror attack aired on a Pakistani TV Channel.
"Salman will tender an unconditional apology if anybody, even a single person, feels hurt by his remark about the
Mumbai terror attack. Salman has told me that he loves his country as anybody else does and is prepared to apologise,"
Salim Khan, himself a famous Bollylood script writer told PTI.
(With PTI inputs)