Salman Khan triggers controversy with Yakub Memon tweet, apologises later

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Salman Khan triggers controversy with Yakub Memon tweet, apologises later
Protests outside Salman Khan's house after his tweets.

Mumbai - "Get tiger (Tiger Memon), hang him. Parade him not his brother," the actor had tweeted.


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Published: Sun 26 Jul 2015, 6:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Jul 2015, 2:13 AM

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Sunday created a storm by describing Yakub Memon, the Mumbai blasts convict scheduled to be hanged on July 30, as innocent but was forced to withdraw his tweets and tender unconditional apology following outrage from political parties and social media.

Basking in the glory of the success of his film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, the 49-year-old actor posted about a dozen tweets from about 2 am early on Sunday 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.

"Get tiger (Tiger Memon), hang him. Parade him not his brother," the actor had tweeted. 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.

Khan said he had been wanting to tweet about the issue for some days but was afraid.

"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," he tweeted.

"1 innocent man killed is killing the humanity," the actor said.

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.

Speaking to PTI, Nikam said, "Tweets made by Salman Khan are highly objectionable" and were an attempt to "undermine the image of the Indian Judiciary."

TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) 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 that 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 in the 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.

"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," he said.

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