Controversial godman and founder of Patanjali Ayurveda, Ramdev, has accused veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah of ‘degrading’ India’s pride because of his decision to express his concerns on the rise in right-wing militancy in the country. Ramdev said that there was no country in the world without internal strife and intolerance.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Eastern India’s first International Vedic Pathashala, Ramdev, according to news agency IANS, said, “Naseeruddin Shah has earned his popularity due to love of common people. I have not seen religious intolerance. I, of course, see political intolerance. I think accusing India of religious intolerance is equal to degrading country’s pride.”
Likening Shah’s criticism for the right-wing terrorism in India to disrespect and treason, Ramdev said, “Labelling one’s own country with religious intolerance is akin to ungratefulness, disrespect and treason.”
Last week, Shah had said that he felt angry over how the death of a cow was being given more importance than the murder of a police officer. He said that he worried about his children in the new India.
The veteran actor had told Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, “I worry about my children because they don’t have a religion…I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and ask them ‘are you a Hindu or a Muslim,’ They will have no answer. It worries me because I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon.”
No sooner had his comments been covered by media, supporters of BJP had begun launching vicious attacks against him. Actor Anupam Kher, a known supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, had asked much more freedom Shah expected to have in a country where one could even “abuse” the army and “pelt stones” at soldiers.
“There’s so much freedom in the country that you can abuse the army, badmouth the air chief and pelt stones at soldiers. How much more freedom do you need in a country? He said what he felt like, that doesn’t mean it’s the truth,” Kher was quoted as saying by ANI.