Speaking at the India Today Conclave South in Hyderabad, Raj said, “And they say I am anti-Hindu. No, I am anti-Modi, I am anti-Hegde (Anantkumar), I am anti-Amit Shah and , according to me they are not Hindus. Mr Anantkumar Hegde, who says he wants to wipe out a ‘ism,’ a religion from the face of this earth, cannot be a Hindu ladies and gentlemen.”
At this point he was interrupted by a local BJP leader, Krishna Saagar Rao, who took exception to Raj’s comments about his leader. (You can watch the video below).
Unfazed by the heckling, Raj went on to say that ‘the person who supports killings cannot be a Hindu.’ “When they decided I am anti-Hindu, I will tell them that they are Hindus. People who say ‘kill,’ according to me, are not Hindus. Sir, people who support killers are not Hindus,” he said.
In response to Rao’s defence that only fringe elements were behind the violence perpetrated in the name of Hindutva, Raj said, “See, there are around six to seven of your state governments, where the Supreme Court says Padmaavati should be played (screened). And the fringe elements say it should not be played. And you, the ruling party support them by saying ‘we will ban the film.’ The very fact that you are supporting, aren’t you against us? Aren’t you against the freedom of speech?”
Raj continued to recall the brutal murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was a close friend of the actor.
“When Gauri Lankesh, my friend, was killed, this whole thing started with a simple question, that I saw celebrations about her killing. I never said who killed. I said people are celebrating and this is violence, this is not right for the society. And the people who are celebrating are following. And the Prime Minister of this country is following these people. Why is he silent? Why isn’t he saying don’t celebrate, so that I can have a secular feeling in this country. His silence… He may think it is silence, but it speaks, sir… What I am saying is that a true Hindu will not support killing sir,” Raj told the audience.
My Prime Minister should ask his minister – an elected, mandated minister – not to say that a religion should be wiped out from this earth. That is not Hinduism, sir. And if my Prime Minister does not ask this Minister to shut up, then I’m asking my Prime Minister, ‘you’re also not a Hindu!’ I have a genuine, straight question sir. I’m not looking at my Prime Minister as comes from a party. Whether I’ve voted for him, or I’ve not voted for him, he is still my Prime Minister. I have the right to ask him a question. (sic)”
On the controversy over naming a movie Sexy Durga, which was not allowed to to be screened at this year’s IFFI, Raj said that the movie was not against Hindusim.
“If the film is made against Hindusim, they have a question to ask. But the filmmaker is saying there’s nothing against the religion at all.” Raj added.