Rajya Sabha witnessed a brief uproar on Monday over Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s reported jibe against actor Aamir Khan for his remarks on rising intolerance. As opposition parties sought clarification from the government, Parrikar rose up to refute the reported remarks attributed to him.
“Let the members see the video for themselves and they wouldn’t go by the media reports… let them see the video themselves and make up their mind,” Parrikar said speaking before the Upper House.
Earlier, raising the issue by referring to the news reports, leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad sought Parrikar’s clarification saying, “What type of lesson and action is he going to teach us… the entire nation should be told.”
“What the minister said was highly objectionable… let him contradict and tell the media he didn’t say that… This is not acceptable… tomorrow are you going to threaten me and say there’ll be a social boycott?” CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said seeking further clarification from the Union minister.
“The Defence minister of this country should not have said what he said yesterday,” TMC’s Derek O’Brien said referring to Parrikar’s reported statement.
In the reports published in the press, Parrikar had on Saturday said anyone speaking against the country must be “taught a lesson”, referring to remarks made by Aamir Khan last year about “sense of insecurity” resulting from increasing intolerance in the country. Khan had then also mentioned about his wife Kiran Rao’s apprehensions about the future of their child in India.
Speaking at a book launch event in Pune last weekend, Parrikar was quoted by the press saying, “how does someone dare to talk about this country? If anyone speaks like this, he has to be taught the lesson of his life.”
The Union Defence minister had also reportedly mentioned that many people protested against the actor’s statement and had even uninstalled the mobile application of an online shopping site he was associated with.
“One actor had said that his wife wants to live out of India. It was an arrogant statement. If I am poor and my house is small, I will still love my house and always dream to make a bungalow out of it,” he said, without naming Khan.
Reacting to Parrikar’s reported remarks, Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi had on Sunday taken on the centre and even the RSS dubbing it a “concerted conspiracy” to hound Dalits, minorities, writers, actors and whoever dissents against the Narendra Modi government”.
“RSS & Parrikarji want to teach everyone a lesson. Here’s a lesson for you: hate is the preserve of the coward and it never wins,” Rahul Gandhi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The principal opposition party too alleged that Parrikar has “unknowingly” exposed the conspiracy through which BJP people targeted the online company, booked orders and cancelled in pursuance of a conspiracy to ensure that Aamir Khan was removed as its brand ambassador.