NEW DELHI -- In a recent debate on intolerance, actor Anupam Kher left no doubt about his support for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre, and his deep admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he also called for the arrest of BJP leaders Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi, who regularly make remarks which are hurtful to Muslims.
While speaking at the ‘The Telegraph National Debate on intolerance, held in Kolkata over the weekend, Kher said that people like Adityanath, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh, and Prachi, a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, should be jailed.
"There are some people in the party who talk nonsense. Whether it is Sadhvi or Yogi, they should be jailed, they should be scolded, and they should be thrown out of the party," he said in the debate, which is being shared widely on the web.
In December, Adiyanath said that the growth in the country’s Muslim population was a “threat”.
In November, Sadhvi said that Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan is a "Pakistani agent."
While his colleagues Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan spoke out against rising intolerance in the country, Kher remained staunch in support for the Modi government, and attacked those with a contrary opinion of unnecessarily shaming the country. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India, last month.
During the debate on intolerance, Kher accused the Congress Party of hypocrisy, and said that he would vote for its Vice President Rahul Gandhi if he became one-tenth of the man Modi is.
“If you can tolerate that person then you can tolerate anything in the world," he said.
Kher said that only the rich and famous are talking about intolerance.
“This is a no debate. The rich and the famous are talking of intolerance. If you ask a man on the street, they won’t talk about intolerance. All they want is food two times a day,” the actor said.
“Those with champagne in a glass are only talking about it. Are you living in India or America?" he said.
Kher said that his support for the BJP had nothing to do with wife Kirron Kher, who is the BJP lawmaker from Chandigarh. “I have been married to Kirron Kher for 30 years. I do not need to prove my loyalty to her by supporting the party,” he said.
Kher concluded, “My friends, this is a great country. Let’s tolerate the intolerance of these people."
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