New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday sharpened its attack on Aamir Khan for his remarks on intolerance, with senior spokesmen and ministers accusing the actor of “blaming the whole nation” and committing a “moral offence”.
It said an icon like him should not use words that blamed the country, and hit out at some political forces for creating obstacles in the nation’s development process.
“It is unfortunate that for the sake of his name he is defaming the entire country. I feel it is a moral offence,” BJP spokesperson M J Akbar told media persons.
He said there is absolutely no problem with an icon or non-icon in a democracy criticising anything, “but yes, when an icon blames the whole nation, then I think there is an appropriate reason for a reaction.”
“I do not believe that you have a right to drag down the nation because of any personal antagonism towards a political party. The nation must always be above politics,” he said.
Akbar said if one asks the 125 crore Indians on whether they want to live in this country or not, “you will get only one answer that this is our country. This is the strength of patriotism.”
Asked why BJP was training all its guns on Aamir, he said, “We say it because it affects the nation. The point being made is – that you should blame the country is unacceptable. This is a moral offence. We find it unacceptable.”
Akbar also said that “unfortunately, there are some forces that are against development and progress and want to create obstacles”.
The BJP leader also recalled an incident of theft in a church some time ago, which was sought to be made into an international issue.
Talking about Aamir’s relations with Maulana Azad, he reminded the actor of Azad’s words said at the steps of Jama Masjid in Delhi that the country belongs to everyone as he opposed Partition.
“Aamir is a relative of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad whose message was that the country belonged to everybody. What Maulana had said, probably his relatives should have heard,” Akbar said, adding that the truth spoken by the Maulana will never change and all should help make the country progressive and developed.
He also recalled how there has been a call of unity given by the ulemas in 73 cities in the country and asked, “What message are you giving that our country is not worth living?”
Questioning Aamir, the BJP leader said, “Which city do you want to live in, Washington or London? But, I assure you will not hear the sound of ‘azaan’ (the Muslim call for prayer from a mosque).”
He recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Muslims and Hindus on whether to fight each other or unitedly fight against poverty.
“That is the vision that has come out from the roots of this country and society,” he said.
Attacking those creating hurdles on country’s development path, he said, “They want to hurt the Prime Minister’s image and the Prime Minister’s message of unity and ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, which Aamir Khan has himself lauded.”
Javadekar lashes out
Hitting out at Aamir, Union minister Prakash Javadekar today said the “extreme reaction” given by the actor has not only “dented” the image of the country but also his own.
Joining his party colleagues who have been critical of Aamir’s comments, Javedekar said the reason why his party did not agree with the actor’s statement is because the country has a “legacy of tolerance”.
Another Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said tolerance is in India’s DNA and the actor need not leave the country, advising him to not come under the influence of “fabricated political propaganda”.
“Tolerance is in India’s DNA. There is no space for intolerance in the country. People don’t need to get influenced by fabricated political propaganda,” he tweeted.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, “Some are propagating wrong things some are coming under wrong propaganda. There is more tolerance in India. People of India are tolerant.”
The government had called Aamir’s comments alarmist, with ministers alleging a conspiracy to tarnish India’s image.
BJP’s national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain had said on Tuesday, “Where will Aamir and his family go other than India? There is no other better country like India and no better neighbour than a Hindu for an Indian Muslim. What is the situation in Muslim countries and Europe. There is intolerance everywhere.”
Naqvi said, “There is nothing wrong as peace and harmony are prevailing in the country. So Aamir does not need to leave the country. He should stay back and should not come under the influence of fabricated political propaganda,” he added.
BJP MP and Hindutva leader Yogi Adityanath also has taken a swipe at Khan, and had said nobody has stopped him from leaving India if he wants to and it will help reduce the country’s population.
Deprecating the actor’s remarks, Javadekar said, “The statement of Aamir may have been his personal opinion but the country has been hurt by it to a large extent. If such an extreme reaction is given by a prominent artiste, then naturally some people get hurt and sad.
“The reason why we do not agree with the statement is because our country has a legacy of tolerance which is there even today. Not only has Aamir’s statement dented the image of the country but his own image has been dented,” he said.