MUMBAI: Bollywood star Salman Khan who came under fire for claiming during an interview to a Pakistani channel that the 26/11 attacks were hyped because the "elite" were targetted, has apologised for his "insensitive" comments.
The actor's statement prompted sharp reactions from Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal, Shiv Sena, BJP and other political parties. Salman also claimed that his comments were "twisted" by the channel Express 24x7.
"I gave an interview to the channel three weeks ago. In this festive season of Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi, a segment of the interview has been twisted and released. I saw it and realised that it sounded very insensitive," said the 44-year-old actor.
"What I meant was that every human life is precious, be it rich or poor. I always had and always will have faith in our intelligence agencies, army and police forces. I did not mean to hurt anybody. If I have hurt anybody I am really sorry," said Salman.
The actor had earlier indicated that his comments were misinterpreted and tweeted that he plans to record all his media interviews in the future.
"It was the elite that was targeted this time. Five star hotels and all. So they panicked. Then they got up and spoke about it. My question is why not before. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns too, but no one talked about it so much," the actor had reportedly said during the interview.
Salman's comments were labelled "uninformed" by Bhujbal.
"He is an actor. He does not have the information to make a comment on whether the Pakistani govt was involved or not. People travelling in taxis, constables, waiters, hotel workers, all lost their lives in the attacks," said Bhujbal.
The Shiv Sena had termed the comments "anti national". and BJP too had reacted sharply to the star's statement.
"26/11 attack was an attack on India. We cannot forget that Indian citizens were killed. This was not a small issue for Salman Khan to comment. This was an attack meticulously planned by Pakistan," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson.
The Shiv Sena had demanded an apology from Khan. "The 26/11 attacks were a war against the nation. Salman should apologise for his remarks. Ambani was not staying at the CST, nor was Tata or Birla staying in Cama Lane," Sena leader Sanjay Raut said referring to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Cama Lane, which were among the places targetted by terrorists.
The comments were condemned by Ujwal Nikam, Special Prosecutor in the 26/11 trial who said that the statement was "childish". TI