Coming out in the open in support of Aamir Khan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said nobody had the right to ask the actor to go to Pakistan.
“Whatever Aamir has said, whether it is correct or not, this is his personal right,” Banerjee said refering to the Bollywood hero’s controversial remarks that his wife Kiran Rao had discussed moving out of India in view of growing intolerance, fearing safety of their children.
“His wife told him something. And he talked about it. It is his democratic right. He is being asked to leave the country.”
Apparently targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh parivar, she said some people were behaving as if the country belonged only to them.
“This is our place of birth, place of work. Nobody has the right to tell anybody that you go to Pakistan, you leave the country. We are all Indians.”
In a combative mood, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, said she had no problem if the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was used against her and she was jailed for speaking in favour of secularism.
“Whenever anyone speaks out against them, they threaten a CBI probe. I say do it. So long they are in power, let them do whatever they can. But beware, it’s great to have guts, but not great to be audacious.
“Because I talk of secularism, if somebody tries to use the CBI against me, I tell them go ahead. If you put me in jail, I would remain in people’s jail. it’d be great. I will get a few days’ rest”.
Banerjee alleged that many celebrities were being threatened to issue counter-statements opposing actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Aaamir and A.R. Rahman, who have spoken about rising intolerance.
She claimed even her party MP and Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty was too terrorised to even speak to her.
“Even a person like Mithun Chakraborty cannot speak to me out of fear. He is my party MP… the way he is terrorised.”
Banerjee warned that if the intolerance continued all limits, she would lead a march of people to Delhi.
“I know of lot of incidents. Remember, don’t cross the limits. If the limits are breached, then not only Bengal, you (the people) will go to Delhi with me.”
Stepping up her attack on the BJP-led central government, Banerjee said while it had called a special sitting of parliament to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, at the same time it was “crossing all limits of tolerance”.
“So long you are occupying the chair, you have to abide by the constitution and show your respect and love to people of all faiths.”
The chief minister said a terrorist should not be linked to any mainstram community.
“A terrorist has no caste, creed, and religion. A Hindu can be a terrorist, a Muslim can be a terrorist. But he is not a terrorist because he is a hindu or muslim. As an individual he is a terrorist.”
Flaying those trying to dictate to the people what they should “eat or wear”, Banerjee said: “Why should people have to give clarification for eating beef? It is their choice.”
She claimed that a demand was raised for banning cow slaughter during last month’s Durga puja celebration. “Why should I stop slaughter of cows during Durga puja? Those who like it will have it. Those who don’t will not have. So long I am there, I am not going to do all this.”
Inputs by IANS