Controversial BJP MP Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday compared actor Shah Rukh Khan’s comments with those of Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, a day after another leader embarrassed the party by calling the popular actor “anti-national”.
“These people speak the language of terrorists. There is no difference between the language of Shah Rukh Khan and (terror mastermind) Hafeez Saeed,” Adityanath said.
“Shah Rukh Khan should remember that if a huge mass of people boycotts his films, he will also have to wander on streets like a normal Muslim.” he said.
The Gorakhpur MP’s response was to the actor speaking out in support of protest by writers and filmmakers against “rising intolerance” in the country. Khan had, on the occasion of his 50th birthday on Monday, said there was “nothing worse than religious intolerance and that it would take India to the Dark Ages”.
Adityanath’s comments come hours after Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya retracted his previous day’s tweet calling Khan “anti-national.” Sadhvi Prachi, a controversial Hindutva leader, had also hit out at Khan on Tuesday, dubbing him a “Pakistani agent”.
While the BJP had distanced itself from Vijayvargiya’s tweet with senior minister Venkaiah Naidu saying it was not the view of the party, another party leader Najma Heptulla blamed the Bollywood star for inviting trouble.
“Had Shah Rukh Khan not said such things, my party men would not have commented anything. He gave them a point to talk on, they didn’t start talking themselves,” she said.
Manoj Tiwari, yet another BJP leader and an actor himself, smelled politics behind Khan’s comments.
“This is definitely a political statement for the benefit of Congress and their supporting parties,” Tiwari said.
The Congress reacted immediately saying Adityanath’s statement was condemnable and would cause tension.
“This is a condemnable statement and nobody can send an individual to Pakistan,” Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said.
“If you have views against the dispensation of this country you go to Pakistan... anybody wants to tweet something he has to go to Pakistan.. Are they trying to promote Pakistan tourism?” asked Vadakkan.
Actor Anupam Kher, whose wife Kirron is a BJP MP from Chandigarh, also leapt to Khan’s defence and asked the saffron party leaders not to speak against a “national icon”.
“Some in the BJP need to stop talking rubbish about Shah Rukh Khan. He is a national icon and we’re proud of him,” Kher said.