Mumbai, July 27: Describing Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon, who is scheduled to be hanged on July 30, as innocent, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan created a storm by but he was forced to withdraw his tweets and tender unconditional apology following outrage from political parties and social media.
The 49-year-old actor posted about a dozen tweets from about 2 am early on Saturday in which he said the wrong man is being hung for the crimes of his brother Tiger Memon who was described by the actor as a ‘lomdi'(fox) who ran away.
Salman posted: “Get tiger(Tiger Memon), hang him. Parade him not his brother.”
Tiger Memon, who is believed to be in Pakistan, is one of the prime suspects in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts that killed 257 people and injured 1,400.
Basking in the glory of his film Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s success, Khan said he had been wanting to tweet about the issue for some days but was afraid.
He tweeted: “Been wanting to tweet Tis fr 3 days n was afraid to do so but it involves a man’s n family. Don’t hang brother hang tha lomdi (fox) who ran away,” adding “1 innocent man killed is killing the humanity.”
As his tweets sparked a furore and were dubbed as “objectionable” and also led to protests by BJP workers outside Khan’s residence in suburban Bandra, BJP and ally Shiv Sena demanded cancellation of the actor’s bail in the 2002 hit-and-run case. A Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande even called Khan anti-national.
Ujjwal Nikam, the special prosecutor in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, took a strong exception to Khan’s tweets in defence of Yakub, and said the actor must withdraw them.
Nikam reportedly said: “Tweets made by Salman Khan are highly objectionable” and were an attempt to “undermine the image of the Indian Judiciary.”
TADA Judge P D Kode, who sent Yakub to the gallows, said Khan’s tweets are his ‘opinion’ and that everyone has a right to his or her opinion as a right to freedom of speech but the question is how “relevant” it is.
Deleting his earlier tweets, Khan said his father Salim Khan called him and said he should retract his tweets as they had the potential to create “misunderstanding”.
Salim, a veteran Bollywood scriptwriter, is quoted has having said that his son is “ignorant” of the issue and people should not take him seriously, describing the star’s earlier remarks as ridiculous and meaningless.
“My dad called & said I should retract my tweets as they have the potential to create misunderstanding. I hereby retract them. I would like to unconditionally apologise for any misunderstanding I may have created unintentionally,” he said in a series of tweets on Sunday evening.
Khan said he also strongly condemned those who are claiming his tweets are “anti-religious”, adding, “I have always said I respect all faiths and I always will.”
“I had tweeted that Tiger Memon should hang for his crimes and I stand by it. What i also said is that Yakub Memon should not hang for him. I have not said or implied that Yakub Memon is innocent. I have complete faith in the judicial system of our country.”
Salman added: “Many lives were lost in the Mumbai blasts. And I have repeatedly said the loss of one innocent life is equal to the loss of all humanity.”
(With Agency Inputs)