NEW DELHI: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the government should not “bully or threaten” people who question it as he came out in support of actor Aamir Khan, whose statement on ‘intolerance’ has triggered a huge row.
“Instead of branding all those who question the Govt & Modiji as unpatriotic, anti national or ‘motivated’, the Govt would do better to reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them. That’s the way to solve problems in India not by bullying, threatening & abusing!” the Congress vice-president tweeted.
Rahul’s support for Aamir came shortly after Union minister Kiren Rijiju said the actor’s remark tarnishes the image of India.
“All this debate is misplaced. There are issues which society as a whole needs to come together and address. But to just make a blatant statement that during the NDA rule, the country has become intolerant unnecessarily tarnishes the image of the nation,” Rijiju said, adding that records show the number of communal violence incidents have come down since the NDA came to power.
On Monday, Aamir, joining the growing chorus of the intelligentsia against intolerance, had said, “When I chat with Kiran (Rao) at home, she says, ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm.”
Aamir had made the remarks at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony in New Delhi in the presence of senior Union minister Arun Jaitley.
Rahul’s Congress said what the actor has said is what the world has been saying for a while now. “What Aamir Khan, one of the most respected actors, has said in the presence of many senior BJP people is what the whole world is saying, all of India is saying, all right minded people are saying,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
Meanwhile, the BJP took a dig at Kiran Rao’s suggestion to leave India, saying people move out for many reasons, including for saving taxes. “Many people chose to settle abroad for various reasons, including education, career, business and taxation. This is an individual choice. There is no constitutional bar on it,” Nalin Kohli said.
The party reminded Khan that his last movie ‘PK’ was a resounding box office success despite protests by some right wing outfits, stressing that it was a example of how tolerant Indian society is.