New Delhi: Facing criticism from several quarters for speaking about the increasing religious intolerance in the country, Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah on Friday said that he stood by what he said as he only spoke the truth.
“What I said earlier was as a worried Indian. What did I say this time that I am being termed as a traitor? I am expressing concerns about the country I love, the country that is my home. How is that a crime?” said Shah.
In an apparent reference to the recent mob violence in Bulandshahr, Shah had said in a video that the death of a cow was being given more importance than the killing of a policeman and was soon trolled for his remark.
The actor said the “poison has already spread” and it will be now difficult to contain it.
“It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back into the bottle again. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own hands. In many areas we are witnessing that the death of a cow is given more significance than that of a police officer,” he said.
Shah’s outburst invited angry comments. A user commented on the YouTube video shared by Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, saying “I think Gulfam Hasan’s character played by him in ‘Sarfarosh’ is actually his real character. Anti-Indian elements are using social media very shrewdly.”
The comment was in reference to his character in the 1998 action-drama “Sarfarosh” in which he played a Pakistani singer who aids cross-border terrorism.
“This is the same guy who signed mercy petition of Yakub Memon. Problem is within you Mr Gulfam Hassan #Nasiruddinshah,” another user wrote on Twitter.
“Criminals and corrupt have to fear in India. Go to Pakistan #NaseeruddinShah,” another user commented.
Shah also expressed anxiety over the well-being of his children Imaad and Vivaan with actor Ratna Pathak Shah, saying they have not brought up their sons as followers of any particular religion.
“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.
“These matters don’t scare me, they make me angry. And I feel every right-thinking man should feel angry, not scared. This is our home, who dare evict us from here?” he said in the interview. A user said if that is the case, “why doesn’t he get out of here?”
The actor was also trolled recently for his comment on cricketer Virat Kohli where he called the Indian skipper “world’s worst behaved player.”
Interestingly, the actor posted an update on Facebook, hours after his criticism of Kohli, writing, “Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. – Chelsea Manning, activist.”
Shah, in his Facebook criticism against Kohli, had also written that he had “no intention of leaving the country.”