A day after 69-year old Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri accomplished veteran Bollywood actor, Naseeruddin Shah, sparked controversy over his ‘Hindu Muslim’ remark, the actor, on Friday, clarified that he made the statement as a “worried Indian” and nothing else. “I have made the statement as a worried Indian and I have previously also done so. I don’t know for what reason I am branded as a traitor,” Shah clarified to media, quoted ANI. Shah also affirmed that he hasn’t done anything wrong by expressing his views as a worried Indian.
A video recently surfaced online showing Shah expressing his anxiety over the mob lynching in the name of cow protection. He had, reportedly, made indirect reference of the recent Bulandshahr violence where a police officer was killed by the angry mob over the discovery of red meat, allegedly, beef, around the police station. A protester had also lost his life allegedly due to bullet fired by the police personnel present at the spot. Speaking in the video, Shah stated, “At many places, the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing of a policeman. I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks, ‘are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ they will have no answer. It worries me that I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon,” The actor since then has been getting mix reaction on social media, but many criticized him for this bold step.
When asked to comment on his criticism over the issue, the three time National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards winner said that he has the right to express his concerns over his own country’s problems like the people criticizing him have the right to criticize him. “I will tolerate the criticism but if they have a right to criticize, I also have it. I have done no wrong in expressing my concerns about the country which I love and where I live,” clarified the alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, Naseeruddin Shah.
This was not the first time that the actor is facing the furore of people over his remarks, he recently made a remark on the Indian cricket team skipper, Virat Kohli. Calling the 30-year old skipper “the world’s best batsman”, the 69-year old actor also tagged Kohli as “world’s worst behaved player”. “Virat K is not only the world’s best batsman but also world’s worst behaved player. His cricketing brilliance pales beside his arrogance and bad manners. And I have no intention of leaving the country by the way,” read his Facebook post. The Facebook users had split over his opinion on India’s star cricketer. However, his comment on India’s diversity over religion, seems to have not gone easy with the netizens.
The most prominent to react to Shah is Padma Shri conferred Indian wrestler, Yogeshwar Dutt. Reacting to Shah’s indirect comment on Bulandshahr violence, Dutt tweeted a series of tweets from his Twitter handle. “We are equally upset for all those who lost their lives in Bulandshahr, but there were other riots prior to this incident and many innocents lost their lives, you didn’t feel scared that time. It is comprehensive from this, which side you stand. Please don’t call yourself a patriot after showing mercy on a terrorist. Jai hind, Jai Bharat,” tweeted Dutt. Dutt also wrote in his tweets about a terrorist group which kidnapped Indians and Bangladeshi, spared the lives of Bangladeshi based on their religion and killed the remaining 39 Indians. He asked why didn’t Shah feel angry like he is right now.
“A terrorist group kidnapped Indians and Bangladeshi, later left Bangladeshi on the ground of their religion and killed remaining 39 Indians, didn’t you feel angered then? Didn’t you feel scared while signing the mercy petition of the terrorist Yakub Memon?,” asked the 36-year old national wrestler, Dutt.
Known for his critically acclaimed role in the Bollywood movie ‘Wednesday’, the veteran actor has been jumping into controversy more often than not. The row over his remarks on Bulandshahr violence has erupted a debate between his supporters and the netizens criticizing him for his bold step.