Mumbai/New Delhi, Sep 12 (Calcutta Tube) Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s comments on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks have triggered strong protests and condemnation with political leaders saying the Bollywood star’s remarks were ‘unwarranted and irresponsible’ and made ‘no sense’.
In an interview to Pakistani channel Express TV, Salman Khan was reported as saying the 26/11 attacks were widely publicised and noticed only because two major hotels in Mumbai were targetted and claimed the lives of rich and influential people.
Reacting to the actor’s statement, Public Prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam said: ‘If Salman is making such a statement without knowing the details of the case, it is foolish. Terrorists do not strike after differentiating rich from the poor nor do they differentiate a village from a city. The attack has wide ramifications as it killed many people and because the conspiracy was allegedly hatched in Pakistan.’
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil dismissed Salman’s comments as baseless. ‘This statement is not right. It is not about taking note of the attack because rich people were killed. It is about loss of lives,’ he said.
Agreed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Atul Bhatalkar. ‘Most political parties have always taken note of attacks, be it the terror attacks in 2008 or the 1993 blasts or the Malegaon bomb blasts. What Salman has said is totally out of context,’ Bhatalkar said.
Abu Azmi, state president of Samajwadi Party, urged Salman to help the victims of terror attacks instead of making irrelevant statements. ‘The attack first happened at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), where common men and women were killed and injured. What sense does such a statement make?,’ questioned Azmi.
Azmi also mentioned that a woman named Sabira was badly in need of funds for herself and her son. Sabira lost both her legs in the attack and was still waiting for some financial aid. ‘Salman should extend support to her instead of making such statements,’ Azmi added.
Despite repeated efforts, Salman or his family members were not available for comment.
In New Delhi, BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain condemned Salman’s remarks and demanded the Bollywood actor apologise for his ‘unwarranted comments’.
‘We strongly condemn Salman Khan’s unwarranted and irresponsible comments and that too to a Pakistani channel. How can he say only the elite were targeted? Is he not aware of the common people killed at the railway station and also the security forces? Moreover he has no right to give the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and the Pakistani government a clean chit… He should immediately apologise,’ Hussain told IANS.
Salman Khan in an interview to Pakistan’s Express TV said the Pakistani government is not to be blamed and that it was a security failure on India’s part.
‘Salman’s comment at this point when all the evidence is pointing a finger at the ISI and Pakistan, is totally uncalled for. This will weaken India’s case and strengthen Pakistan’s. He is an Indian celebrity and he has disappointed many Indian fans. If there was POTA today he would be behind bars,’ Hussain said.
‘Salman should concentrate on films and not make such comments,’ Hussain added.
The Nov 26-29, 2008 attack left 166 people dead as 10 terrorists who sailed in from Karachi let loose coordinated shooting and bombing attacks largely across south Mumbai.