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FIR lodged against Salman Khan, Shilpa Shetty for hurting caste sentiment

The actor and actress were singled out for their use of the pejorative word 'bhangi' in separate interviews.

Photos: Shutterbugs Images


An FIR (first information report) was lodged against superstar Salman Khan and actress-turned-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra on Saturday, 23 December, at the Andheri police station in Mumbai for allegedly using the word 'bhangi' on a public platform, hurting the sentiments of the scheduled caste community.

Confirming the news, vice-president of the Rojgar Aghari Republican Party of India, Kishore Masoom, told the IANS news agency on telephone, "We highly condemn Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty for using such words that show us in bad light. We have filed a complaint and will hold a protest in front of Galaxy Apartments, Salman's house, today. According to law, he has to serve imprisonment of five years."

Asked if he thought Salman Khan, who has a huge fan following, would get bail easily, Masoom said: "No one is above the law, whether a normal public person or a celebrity. And talking of his fans, only the elite people did not make him Salman Khan the star. Even Dalit people like us watch his films. Who will support a man who is so disrespectful of his fans? We are hurt."

The complaint has been lodged by Navin Ramchandra Lade, general secretary of the Rojgar Aghari Republican Party of India.

The statement released by Lade's lawyer reads, "Salman, along with Katrina Kaif on a TV show, used the insulting word 'bhangi' against a member of the scheduled caste.

"Actor Shilpa Shetty stated in an interview, 'I look like a bhangi'. It appears from her statement that she is encouraging and spreading ill-feeling among the entire society. She also intentionally insulted members of the scheduled caste. Both actors have committed an offence under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, and Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955."

Lade added: "I felt insulted and humiliated. Being a member of the scheduled castes, I feel very pained and hurt due to an insulting statement made by Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty."

The FIR comes a day after members of the Valmiki community in Rajasthan filed a complaint against the superstar in Jaipur for using the pejorative term.

Protests were held against Salman Khan-starrer Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) on Friday, with Valmiki community members disrupting the film's screening in cinema halls across the state.

Members of the Valmiki Yuva Sangathan lodged a complaint at the Nahargarh police station against Khan and Shetty for the use of the term. The protesters alleged that Khan had insulted the Valmiki community by using "cheap language".

The video of Khan uttering the pejorative word has gone viral and triggered tension in Ajmer, too. In Kishangarh, Rajasthan, Khan's effigy was burnt.