British police on Monday said they would investigate a Pakistani-born actor’s anti-India rant on social media as a possible hate crime even as the “Coronation Street” star apologised for the “unacceptable” language.
Marc Anwar, who was sacked on Sunday from one of Britain s longest-running television soap operas after a series of “racially offensive” tweets, will be investigated by Greater Manchester Police.
“On Sunday 25 September, 2016 police received a report of a hate crime. Police have launched an investigation and inquiries are ongoing,” a Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said.
The 45-year-old, who played a key Muslim character of Sharif Nazir on ‘Coronation Street’, today apologised for his Twitter rant.
“I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone that I may have offended with my tweets on Friday evening and especially people from India,” he said in a video apology.
“This was never my intention and the language was unacceptable. I feel that I have let a lot of people down, my family, my friends and my former colleagues. This I very sincerely apologise for,” he said.
“On Friday evening I saw, on the news, children being pulled out of rubble, people being pelted with pellets, women mourning their dead in Kashmir. This upset me very deeply and in a moment of madness I ranted out. I vented my anger,” he claimed.
“Again, the language that I used, I sincerely apologise for. But my feelings were very sincere for the people of Kashmir. And I hope that everyone that I have offended can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
‘Sunday Mirror’ had published screenshots of messages posted on Anwar s private Twitter account which appeared to hit out at India over Kashmir and referred to Indian people as “bastards” and “piss-drinking cunts”.
Speaking to BBC on Monday, Anwar said his Twitter account was private at the time the tweets were posted and he had not expected them to be widely read.
“My Twitter account was private because I didn’t want to engage with anybody I m not a bigot, not a coward and not a liar. I’m definitely not a racist,” he told BBC.
ITV channel had issued a statement after being alerted to the messages by the newspaper: “We are deeply shocked by the entirely unacceptable, racially offensive comments made on Twitter by Marc Anwar. We have talked to Marc and, as a consequence of his comments, he will not be returning to ‘Coronation Street’ with immediate effect”.
The channel is expected to try and minimise the actor’s presence in the show until his character can be eventually written out.
His remarks came days after the Uri attack which led to the killing of 17 Indian Army jawans.
(With PTI inputs)