Bollywood star Salman Khan’s father, the veteran writer Salim Khan, says his son is being targeted by critics for his celebrity status, which, he says, gives accusers more publicity.
It comes days after the latest controversy to engulf the actor, when he was criticised for questioning the death penalty handed to 1993 Mumbai bomb-blasts convict, Yakub Memon.
Salim dismissed his son’s tweets as “childish and meaningless” .
“These things have been said by many people,” said Salim. “Salman was not the only one. Probably his way of putting it was little childish and meaningless. First person to condemn it was me. Lots of people such as Naseeruddin Shah, Shatrughan Sinha and [Justice] Markandey Katju have said the same thing.”
“You get more publicity when you attach Salman because he is a big star.”
Salman, 49, who is free on bail after being sentenced in May to five years in jail over the death of a man in a 2002 hit-and-run case, tweeted on July 25 that Yakub, who was hanged in Nagpur jail on Thursday, should not be punished for his brother Tiger Memon’s crime.
The reaction to the tweets prompted the authorities to set up barricades and deploy about 50 policemen outside his home in Galaxy Apartment in Bandra, fearing possible violence.
A day later, Salman apologised for his comments and deleted the tweets.
Asked whether Salman was being targeted because he was an Indian muslim, Salim said: “The people here who have come up with the agitation and blocked the road... personally I felt that these are the people, probably lots of them are against [prime minister Narendra] Modiji.”