Even as he came under attack from sections in BJP, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan on Wednesday received support from ruling ally Shiv Sena which said the superstar should not be targeted only because he is a Muslim and that the minority community in India is "tolerant".
"This country is tolerant and the Muslims are tolerant as well. Shah Rukh Khan should not be targeted only because he is a Muslim," Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told PTI.
Saamana executive editor and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut
BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya had yesterday triggered a controversy when he tweeted that Shah Rukh's "soul" is in Pakistan though he lives in India. His remarks came a day after the 50-year-old actor said there is "extreme intolerance" in the country.
Earlier on Wednesday controversial BJP MP Yogi Adityanath compared Shah Rukh to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of Mumbai carnage, over his "extreme intolerance" comment and also suggested that he go to Pakistan.
Slamming Vijayvargiya, Raut asked the BJP general secretary not to bring Pakistan into this debate on tolerance, saying that it is India's internal matter.
He said Shah Rukh is a superstar only because India is tolerant. "Shah Rukh Khan is a superstar only because the country is tolerant and has never thought in the name of religion," the Sena leader said.
However, Raut said Shah Rukh spoke quite late on the issue.
"First of all Shah Rukh Khan should not have gotten into this debate on tolerance and secondly, out of the people who have returned their awards, the number of Muslims is almost negligible. Also, Shah Rukh spoke on the issue very late," he said.
Meanwhile, under fire for his remark against Shah Rukh, Vijayvargiya today withdrew his controversial tweets but asserted that had there been intolerance in India, Shah Rukh would not have been the most popular actor after Amitabh Bachchan.