Defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s comments against actor Aamir Khan created a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha on Monday as opposition members alleged that the government was targeting the minorities.
Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the minister talked about teaching a lesson to those who talk the way Aamir Khan did.
“What type of lesson is he going to teach us? What kind of lesson is he going to teach the minorities,” Azad asked.
Parrikar, who was present in the house urged the members to see the video themselves and not to go by reports.
“I will only say one thing. Let the members see the video (of his speech) by themselves and make up their minds,” the defence minister said.
Opposition members however continued the attack.
“What is said is absolutely objectionable. Tomorrow are you going to threaten me that there will be a social boycott,” asked Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said: “I have seen the video, and what he has said directly threatens the minorities. He is threatening the minorities and telling them that a lesson will be taught.”
Azad added: “We are with you against Pakistan but you are threatening us.”
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati also accused the government of targeting minorities and Dalits.
“Ever since this government has come, they first targeted minorities, especially Muslims, and now Dalits are being targeted,” she said.
Parrikar, at a book launch in Pune, without naming Khan had said: “One actor said my wife wants to go out of India... it was an arrogant statement. However poor my family, is, however small my house is, I have to love my house and always aim to make a big bungalow out of it through right procedure.... You can’t feel ashamed of your set up.”
The minister, in comments made in Marathi and English, in what appeared to be a reference to the incidents in Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, said: “How does someone dare to talk ill of this country... They were not speaking in Srinagar, they were speaking in Delhi. How does he have the courage to speak like this... I am not talking about any university, any organisation... Anyone who speaks like this he has to be taught a lesson.”