Actor Salman Khan, who is riding high on his latest release, Dabangg, had to eat the humble pie on Sunday and apologise for his statements on the 26/11 attacks, made to a Pakistani TV channel.
Khan had said that the 2008 attacks got widespread publicity because five-star hotels and the elite had been targeted.
The Bandra-based star said his words had been twisted around after his comments triggered angry reactions, especially from the Shiv Sena, which demanded a public apology.
“I gave an interview about three weeks ago. I just saw it myself and the way it’s coming across on TV, it is sounding insensitive. I was just saying that all life is equal. Some attacks might get more media coverage than the others. Why is that? I think every human life is as important,” he said.
“I did not mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments and if I have hurt sentiments, I am really really sorry.”
Khan, however, got support from Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, who spoke to the media when he went to see Khan’s latest release on Sunday.
“What is new about what Salman said? Nobody protested with candles when people were killed in the terror attacks on trains. I have myself pointed this out in my meetings earlier,” he said, adding that he didn’t think Khan had said anything wrong.
Thackeray’s reaction was in contrast to the Sena, whose MP and party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said earlier in the day that Khan had no right to speak about terrorism.
“The 26/11 attacks was an attack on the country and not on one individual. What elite is he talking about? Does Ambani stay at Mumbai CST or do the Tata, Birla reside at Cama Hospital? He should apologise immediately for such statements,” Raut said.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal ticked off the actor for his remarks.
“He is an actor and not informed enough to talk about terror attacks. It was not elites who died at CST or Cama,” the NCP leader said.
He, however said, that there was no need to take Khan seriously since he lacked any political maturity.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan criticised Khan saying: “CST was also targeted. A terror attack is not about the rich or poor. It is about human beings getting killed by terrorists.”
“Terrorists do not make distinction between the rich and the poor and it is childish on Salman’s part to make a
statement like this,” Ujjawal Nikam, special public prosecutor in the 26/11 trial, said, adding that Khan had embarrassed not just himself but the country as well.
In an interview to Express 24/7 channel, the 44-year-old actor was quoted as saying: “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.”