Intolerance row: Rahul Gandhi supports Aamir Khan; BJP calls it conspiracy

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s comments on growing intolerance in the country has sparked a row. While many, including his industry colleagues like Anupam Kher, Ram Gopal Verma have criticised him, others like Vishal Dadlani and Sanjay Gupta have shown their support. But, political parties seem to be taking the opportunity to make veiled attack on the opposition.

Speaking at an event on Monday, the actor had said that he is “alarmed” with the incidents happening around. He said that there is a sense of “insecurity and fear” and that his wife Kiran Rao had suggested that they move out of the country. In a way, Aamir also supported the anti-government group of ‘intelligentsia’ who have been returning their honours and awards protesting growing intolerance.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi came in support of Aamir Khan and said, the government should not "bully or threaten" people who question it.

"Instead of branding all those who question the Govt & Modiji- as unpatriotic, anti national or 'motivated', the Govt would do better to reach out to people to understand what's disturbing them. That's the way to solve problems in India- not by bullying, threatening & abusing!" he wrote on Twitter.

Rahul’s tweet came shortly after Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said that the actor’s remarks tarnishes the image of the nation. “...a blatant statement that during the NDA rule, the country has become intolerant unnecessarily tarnishes the image of the nation," Rijiju said.

Reacting to Rahul’s tweet, the ruling BJP said his comments supporting the actor reek of a conspiracy to defame the nation. “It has become clear from Gandhi's comment that there is a conspiracy going on in the country to defame the nation," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said at a press conference today.

Former actress and Union Minister Smriti Irani also slammed Aamir Khan saying that his criticisms of the country being intolerant that her made at an event in presence of a Union Minister was proof enough that there is free speech in India.

"Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for tourism in our country - Incredible India - and that what's incredible...that he can be a brand ambassador for our government and he can be on a platform in front of the Information and Broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley and speak his mind shows that free speech thrives," the 39-year-old minister told NDTV.