India has reacted sharply to a statement made by Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik on the security of actor Shah Rukh Khan and asked him to worry about the protection to his country’s citizens.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh, describing Malik’s remarks as “uncalled for,” reminded him that India was capable of looking after its citizens and that it treated all of them equally.
The actor had written an article in the “Outlook Turning Points 2013” in which he focused on his experiences as a Muslim in the post-9/11 world.
Malik had stated: “He (Shah Rukh) is born Indian and he would like to remain Indian, but I will request the Government of India (to) please provide him security. I would like to request all Indian brothers and sisters and all those who are talking in a negative way about Shah Rukh, they should know he is a movie star.”
Malik made the remarks while interacting with reporters at a reception organised by High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to mark India’s Republic Day. He added: “I am sure all those who are talking against him or are trying to threaten him will withdraw their threat with this hope that the stars are loved, the stars provide love and they are like a symbol of unity”.
The Pakistan minister’s statement came a day after key 26/ 11 conspirator Hafiz Saeed said the Bollywood star was “welcome to move to Pakistan if he feels unsafe in India.
“I welcome him (SRK), I will help him with his stay here,” the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief said.
Actor’s security restored
A Mumbai report said SRK’s security, which had been withdrawn over a month ago, was restored on Sunday after reviewing the threat to him.
The Congress and the BJP reacted angrily to Malik’s remarks. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: “Pakistan has a bad record as far as minorities there are concerned. There is no country safer than India for Muslims and no better neighbours for them than Hindus.”
Another party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “The statement of Pakistan interior minister offering advice to India is uncalled for and unacceptable. A statement coming from the interior minister of a failed state which had the distinction of harbouring the world’s most notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden in its backyard is laughable.”
The 47-year-old actor had said in a three-page article: “I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in india.
“There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave my home and return to what they refer to as my ‘original homeland’. I of course have not obliged them.”