A day after his remarks on “rising intolerance” raked up a political storm, film actor Aamir Khan asserted that he stand by his statement, though he clarified that neither he nor his wife Kiran Rao have any intention of leaving the country. The 50-year-old Bollywood superstar had on Monday said that he is “alarmed” by a number of incidents which has given rise to this very issue, adding that his wife even contemplated moving out of the country.
“First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future,’ Aamir Khan said in a statement released on Wednesday, adding he is “proud to be an Indian”.
“India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying,” his statement read.
“I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that,” Aamir Khan added further in his statement.
His remarks had led to strong polarised reactions from the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress party with the latter backing actor saying he is only saying what the “world is saying.” On its part, the BJP questioned Aamir Khan over what it claimed that his comments had ‘maligned’ the country’s image.
Speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards on Monday that included Union minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, Aamir Khan had said, “As an individual, as part of this country as a citizen, we read in the papers what is happening, we see it on the news and certainly, I have been alarmed. I can’t deny.”
Citing that his wife Kiran Rao even contemplated to “leave the country”, the actor opined that the sense of insecurity and fear has been growing in the past six or eight months.
“When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, 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 about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day,” Aamir Khan had said.
Meanwhile, the actor continues to get a wide array of support including from his own fraternity in the Bollywood, even as some quarters proceeded with their protest against him.
Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Farah Khan came out in his support affirming, rather strongly, that it is wrong to attack the actor.
“I was waiting for this particular question. I just want to say that there is no intolerance but when somebody has a point of view everybody jumps on him and attack him,” Farah Khan said, adding “That is the very definition of intolerance. So, it’s ironic that we say ‘how can you say we are intolerant’”.
Even Samajwadi Party threw its weight behind Aamir Khan.
Alleging BJP of indulging in “fascist and discriminative” politics, senior SP leader and a cabinet minister with Uttar Pradesh government Shivpal Singh Yadav told the press, “Aamir does not need to leave the country. He can live anywhere in the UP.”
(With inputs from the PTI)