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Don't think she will survive if I hit her: Salman's reply to Aishwarya's abuse allegations in 2002

The former Miss World had issued a statement in 2002 accusing Khan of verbal, physical and emotional abuse while they were in a relationship.

Our Correspondent

The #MeToo movement in India is bringing the skeletons out not only from the entertainment industry but also from politics and journalism. Every day fresh allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and rape, are being made against powerful people. While a few have accepted their mistakes and apologised, many have denied the allegations.

It is befitting now to go back in the past and revisit a controversy that shook the Hindi film industry. The film industry has always been male dominated and speaking up against a celebrity back then was considered suicidal for one's career. However, actress Aishwarya Rai (now Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) mustered up the courage to speak out against her co-star and ex-boyfriend Salman Khan in 2002.

In a statement issued to the media, she gave a detailed account of how Khan allegedly physically, mentally and emotionally abused her while they were in a relationship.

“The Salman Khan chapter was a nightmare in my life and I am thankful to God that it is over. I have maintained a dignified silence about him and his wrongdoings. I stood by him, enduring his alcoholic misbehaviour, in worst phases and in turn I was at the receiving end of his abuse (verbal, physical and emotional), infidelity and indignity. That is why like any other self-respecting woman, I had ended my relationship with him almost two years ago,” the actress had said in the statement.

Recounting the abuse, she added, “There were times when Salman got physical with me, luckily without leaving any marks. And, I would go to work as if nothing had happened. Salman hounded me and caused physical injuries to himself when I refused to take his calls. Time and again [he] tried to wreck my peace and sanity, both personally and professionally.”

She also accused Khan of suspecting her of having affairs with her co-stars. “After we broke up, he would call me and talk rubbish. He also suspected me of having affairs with my co-stars. I was linked up with everyone, from Abhishek Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan,” she had said.

Further, the actress vowed she will never work with Khan again, and said, “For the sake of my well-being, my sanity, my dignity and self-respect of my family — enough! I will not work with Mr Salman Khan. Since the past two months, I have categorically declined to work with Mr Salman Khan.”

During an interview with the news channel NDTV in 2009, Khan was asked if he had ever raised a hand against a woman. The actor refused the allegations with a startling reply.

With a cold expression, he said, “There was journalist who asked me this a long time ago. I think Mr Prabhu Chawla. So I just banged the table. He got startled. The table nearby broke. I said, ‘Now if I hit somebody, I am not going to... It’s obviously a fight. I am going to be angry. If I wanna whack, I am going to give my best shot. I don’t think she will survive it'. So, no it’s not true. I don’t know for what reason that was said. But let it go.”

Aishwarya Rai married Abhishek Bachchan on 20 April 2007 and has a daughter named Aaradhya.

Watch Salman's response:

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Sexual harassment