Naseeruddin Shah’s comment sparks controversy

MUMBAI, DEC 20 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 12/20/2018 11:18:18 AM IST

Poison has already spread and it will be now difficult to contain it’

In an apparent reference to the recent mob violence, actor Naseeruddin Shah said at many places the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing of a policeman.

Shah also expressed anxiety over the well-being of his children, who he said have not been brought up as followers of any particular religion. Shah made the comments in a video interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat India and the organisation shared it on its YouTube channel on Monday. 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 more significance than that of a police officer,” he added.

Shah, who is married to actor Ratna Pathak Shah, said they chose not to give any religious education to their children -- Imaad and Vivaan -- as he believes “being good or evil has nothing to do with religion”. 

His fear for his children’s safety is reminiscent of Aamir Khan’s comments on intolerance in 2015 that had sparked a major controversy. “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,” he said.

BJP leaders attack

After veteran Bollywood actor expressed anger over the recent incidents of lynching in the country in the name of cow vigilantism, leaders of the BJP accused Shah of “fear-mongering” and “hypocrisy.” 

Reacting sharply to Shah’s criticism of the ‘intolerant’ atmosphere in the country, BJP leader Ramesh Bidhuri reportedly said that Shah should take his kids to Pakistan “and settle there”, as per BJP MP in Rajya Sabha, Rakesh Sinha, also did not take Shah’s comments too kindly and said that his statement showed his ‘low thinking.” In his tweet, Sinha said, “Nasiruddin Shah should first ask Rohingyas to leave Hindustan as according to him India is unsafe for him and his family!...He also accused Shah of being a part of a conspiracy to “defame India.” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also told Times Now that he believed that Shah’s comments were simply a “PR stunt.”

Cong, NCP slam BJP

Latching onto actor Naseeruddin Shah’s “cow’s death given more significance than a cop’s” remark, the NCP and the Congress Thursday attacked the BJP, accusing it of vitiating atmosphere across the country for political gains.

“Certainly, he (Shah) is worried about the future of his children. Such an atmosphere prevails over the entire country,” NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik told reporters.

“The RSS’ is vitiating atmosphere in the country for political benefits...The BJP needs to understand such incidents do not benefit politically,” Malik added.

Speaking to reporters in Indore, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said secular citizens in the country are living in an “atmosphere of fear” because of BJP’s attempts to polarise people on religious grounds. “The statement of Shah should be taken seriously,” the former chief minister of Maharashtra said. 

“The statements of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath post the mob violence in Bulandshahr and also during assembly poll campaigning in five states clearly established that BJP wants to polarise people on religious lines,” he said.

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