Actor Naseeruddin Shah is again in the eye of storm. This time the veteran actor is being targeted online by the right-wing trolls for his remarks on Bulandshahr violence, wherein a police inspector was killed in a mob fury triggered by a cow vigilante group in Uttar Pradesh recently.
“At many places the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing of a policeman,” Naseer can be heard saying in a video, which was put online by the Karwan-e-Mohabbat India on Monday.
His comments have come in the wake of an open letter written by a group of ex-bureaucrats, demanding UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's resignation over Bulandshahr violence.
Speaking elaborately on the growing incidence of hate crimes in the country, the veteran actor maintained that “the poison has already spread in the society and it is becoming increasingly difficult to contain it.”
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 believed "being good or evil has nothing to do with religion". He expressed anxiety over the future of his children.“We have not brought up of children 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.”
"I had received religious education as a child. Ratna (his wife) was from a liberal household so she received next to none. And we chose not to give religious education to our children because I believe being good or evil has nothing to do with religion.
"We taught them about good and bad, what our beliefs are. I did make them learn a few verses from the Quran Sharif, as I believe reciting them improves one's articulation. Just like one's articulation improves reading from the Ramayana or Mahabharata from its original..." Shah added.
His fear for his children's safety is reminiscent of Aamir Khan's comments on intolerance in 2015 that had also sparked a major controversy.
The video can be viewed here:
“It will be very difficult to capture this djinn and put it into the bottle again. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own hands,” he further said, adding that he was worried that the situation would not improve "anytime soon".
“I am angry, not scared,” he remarked, asserting that “the growing incidence of communal violence should make everyone angry. This is our home, who dare evict us from here?"
However, his remarks have drawn scathing criticism from right-wing trolls. “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,” wrote a user in the comment box of YouTube video.
“His statement shows his low thinking,” tweeted Rajya Sabha MP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue Rakesh Sinha in response to Naseeruddin Shah’s remarks.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant called Naseeruddin Shah’s statement "a blunder" and said that he "deplores" the actor's comments. “If his (Naseeruddin Shah) sons get caught in a mob, they should simply say they are ‘Hindustani’ (Indians),” he was quoted as saying by the media.