SAHMAT condemns Raj Thackeray’s campaign against Bachchans

September 12th, 2008 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayNew Delhi, Sep 12(IANS) The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) Friday condemned the campaign launched by Raj Thackeray and his party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against actor Amitabh Bachchan for statements made by his wife Jaya Bachchan.”If mob fury can be unleashed against a celebrity couple just because one among them insists on speaking in the language of the state she represents in politics, one wonders what fate Raj Thackeray and his followers have reserved for millions of migrants from Hindi speaking area, who contribute richly to the daily life of India’s greatest metropolis,” SAHMAT said in a statement.

“We are alarmed at the damage to cultural freedom and the larger repercussions - in terms of intolerance and lawlessness - arising from the competition between different elements of the Thackeray clan for the mantle of Mumbai’s most extreme exponent of ethnic and linguistic chauvinism,” it added.

Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had also recently criticised actor Shah Rukh Khan for referring to his antecedents in Delhi.

“Celebrities may by virtue of their status, enjoy immunity from these periodic outbursts of hate and intolerance, but the ensuing climate embodies a threat to millions of Mumbaikars,” it further said.

SAHMAT also called upon the authorities, particularly the civil society in Mumbai, to call an immediate halt to this cynical game.

“Stoking imagined grievances may be a convenient way for politicians and celebrities to keep themselves in media spotlight, but the climate of intolerance this creates will have severe consequences for those without armour of wealth and status, who all too often lack the protection of law too,” the statement further said.

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