One of India’s top actors, Aamir Khan, on Monday disclosed that his wife is scared following a number of cases pertaining to religious intolerance and even suggested leaving India.
“I have been alarmed. I can’t deny. I have been alarmed by a number of incidents,” NDTV quoted him as saying at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards.
The actor — whose wife Kiran Rao is a filmmaker — said he also feels the sense of insecurity and fear has been growing in India since the past six or eight months.
“When I chat with Kiran at home, she says, ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and a 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.
“There is this sense of growing disquiet. There is growing despondency apart from alarm. You feel why this is happening, you feel low. That sense does exist in me,” 50-year-old actor said, adding for any society, it was important to have a sense of security and sense of justice.
Endorsing the move by writers to return their awards to register their protest against the atmosphere of growing intolerance, Aamir said for creative people it was important to voice what they feel, adding the ways for creative people to express their dissatisfaction or disappointment is to return their awards.
“A number of creative people – historians, scientists – increasingly had a certain feeling in them, which they felt they need to express,” he said.
When asked whether he endorsed the protests by the people, Aamir said he would as long as it is non-violent as “all individuals have a right to protest and they can protest in any manner they feel is right as long as they are not taking the law into their hands.”
Unsurprisingly, Aamir’s statement wasn’t received positively in India with colleagues lashing out at the megastar on Twitter. Anupum Kher was most vocal:
India’s ruling party BJP also reacted, terming Aamir’s statement unfair. “We won’t let Aamir leave the country, he is safe. This kind of comment influenced by a politically motivated campaign insults those who have given so much honour to Aamir in India,” said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs.
Earlier another Bollywood superstar, Shah Rukh Khan, came under fire when he said there was growing intolerance in India.
“It is stupid… It is stupid to be intolerant and this is our biggest issue, not just an issue… Religious intolerance and not being secular in this country is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot,” he had said.