Bollywood star Salman Khan was under attack for claiming during an interview to a Pakistani channel that the 26/11 attacks were hyped because "elite people" were targeted. The comments have prompted angry reactions from political parties with the Shiv Sena calling them "anti national".
Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal and the Bharatiya Janata Party too reacted sharply to the star's statement. "It was the elite that was targeted this time. Five star hotels and all. So they panicked. Then they got up and spoke about it. My question is why not before. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked about it so much," the 44-year-old actor had said during an interview to Express 24/7 channel.
The Shiv Sena today that Khan apologise for the statement. "The 26/11 attacks were a war against the nation. Salman should apologise for his remarks. Ambani was not staying at the CST, nor was Tata or Birla staying in Cama Lane," Sena leader Sanjay Raut said referring to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama Lane, which were among the places targetted by terrorists. Meanwhile Bhujbal has called the statement "uninformed". "He is an actor. He does not have the information to make a comment on whether the Pakistani govt was involved or not. People travelling in taxis, constables, waiters, hotel workers, all lost their lives in the attacks," said Bhujbal.
"26/11 attack was an attack on India. We cannot forget that Indian citizens were killed. This was not a small issue for Salman Khan to comment. This was an attack meticulously planned by Pakistan," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson. The attacks had left 166 people dead. Eight of the attacks occurred in south Mumbai at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Orthodox Jewish-owned Nariman House, the Metro Cinema and a lane behind the Times of India building an St. Xavier's College.
Condemning the actor's remarks, Special Prosecutor in 26/11 trial Ujwal Nikam said that the statement was "childish".
"It appears that without knowing the details of the terror attack, the actor made such statements and I shall say these are childish remarks. They (terrorists) don't make any distinction between rich and poor. It is judicially established that the outcome was a deep routed criminal conspiracy hatched in Pakistan and the targets were deliberately selected to wage war against India," he said.
Khan who is riding high after the success of his latest film Dabangg has meanwhile taken to Twitter to clarify his stand.
"Every human life has equal value n any act of terror, anywhere in the world is unpardonable. be it 9/11 or 26/11," tweeted the actor. "Next time mein apnne sub interview sub khud bhi record karoonga , kya bolte ho ? Takeh yeh sub controversies
nahi ho, (I will record all my interviews from the next time onwards so that I can avoid these controversies)," he added.