As Salman Khan’s remarks on death row convict Yakub Memon sparked a furore, he rushed to retract them and offered an unconditional apology, saying he never implied that the 1993 Mumbai blasts case convict was innocent.
The 49-year-old Salman Khan, no stranger to controversies, said he had complete faith in the judicial system of the country.
“I would like to unconditionally apologise for any misunderstanding I may have created unintentionally.
“I have not said or implied that Yakub Memon is innocent. I have complete faith in the judicial system of our country,” the actor tweeted after his remarks triggered criticism and protests.
In a series of six tweets, Salman Khan tried to put a lid on the row generated by his remarks in defence of Memon, sentenced to death in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
In his first tweet, Salman Khan said, “I had tweeted that Tiger Memon (a prime suspect in the blasts case) should hang for his crimes and I stand by it. What i also said is that Yakub Memon should not hang for him.”
“I also strongly condemn those who are claiming my tweets are anti-religious. I have always said I respect all faiths and I always will,” read his second tweet.
Salman Khan’s controversial tweets were posted in the wee hours of the day.
One of them read “Get Tiger (Memon) hang him. Parade him not his brother (Yakub). Another said “1 innocent man killed is killing the humanity.”
Later in the day, Salman Khan said he was withdrawing his tweets on the advise of his father, scriptwriter Salim Khan.
“My dad called & said I should retract my tweets as they have the potential to create misunderstanding. I here by retract them,” said the actor.
Salman Khan further tweeted, “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.”
The actor’s apology came after BJP workers staged a noisy protest against his remarks outside his residence `Galaxy Apartments’ in suburban Bandra and demanded that his bail in the 2002 hit-and-run case be cancelled.
Protesters burnt the filmstar’s effigy and and shouted slogans like “Salman does not have faith in judiciary”.
Policemen used mild force to control the agitators. They rounded up around two dozen BJP workers who were bundled up in a van.
Besides the metropolis, protests erupted at a few more places in Maharashtra. Angry workers of Shiv Sena blackened posters of Salman’s latest film “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” at Satara in western Maharashtra and also disrupted screening of the movie.
There were also reports of the movie’s screening being disrupted at Mahad in coastal Konkan.
Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said in Jalgaon district in North Maharashtra that those sympathising with Memon should also be punished.
Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar met Governor Vidyasagar Rao and submitted a letter demanding cancellation of bail granted to Salman by the Bombay High Court in the 2002 accident case, in which he has been awarded five years in jail.
“I submitted a letter to the Governor requesting cancellation of bail of Salman Khan for supporting a convict,” Shelar said.