Mulayam defends Aamir Khan, says 'Maybe he felt hurt over something'

New Delhi/Lucknow: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday came out in support of actor Aamir Khan, whose remarks on intolerance have grown into a major political controversy.

"Maybe he felt hurt over something and said it. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions," Mulayam said. "He is such a big star. The government should talk to him and understand what he is feeling," he added.

On Sunday at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards ceremony in New Delhi, the 50-year-old Bollywood actor said his wife Kiran Rao had asked if they should leave India as she feared for the safety of her son in a climate of intolerance.

The statement triggered a tsunami of reactions from various Union ministers and BJP leaders, who accused Khan of being part of a Congress conspiracy to malign the Narendra Modi government.

"Tolerance is in India's DNA. There is no space for intolerance in the country. People don't need to get influenced by fabricated political propaganda," Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a tweet on Wednesday.

"Indian Muslims cannot have a better country than India and a better neighbour than a Hindu," BJP spokesperson Shahnzawaz Hussain said on Tuesday. Both Naqvi and Hussain are the BJP's prominent Muslim faces.

Mulayam's remarks -- a day before Parliament meets for the winter session --- indicate the opposition's mood as it gears up to corner the Modi government on a series of issues, including rising intolerance.

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