After uproar, Salman Khan tenders 'unconditional' apology for controversial Yakub Memon tweets

After drawing ire of many for opposing death penalty to 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon, actor Salman Khan has tendered an unconditional apology on Twitter.

After uproar, Salman Khan tenders 'unconditional' apology for controversial Yakub Memon tweets

New Delhi: 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 his film Bajrangi Bhaijaan's success, the 49-year-old actor posted about a dozen tweets in which he said the wrong man was 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.

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

"Been wanting to tweet this for 3 days and was afraid to do so but it involves a man's and his family. Don't hang brother hang the lomdi (fox) who ran away," he had posted.

"One innocent man killed is killing the humanity," the actor had written.

He had further tweeted - "We can die for our family. Tiger, your brother will be hanged for you in some days. Say something, make a statement or address that it was you. What kind of brother are you? Where are you hiding Tiger? Sharif Saab, I would request you to let us know about Tiger, if you have any information about him."

After his tweets created a massive uproar, the actor offered an 'unconditional' apology.

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 as having said that his son was 'ignorant' of the issue and people should not take him seriously, describing the star's earlier remarks as ridiculous and meaningless.

"My dad called and 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 fresh tweets in the evening.

Khan said he also strongly condemned those who were claiming his tweets were '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. 

Salman's tweets led to protests by BJP workers outside Khan's residence in suburban Bandra.

BJP and ally Shiv Sena also 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, as per PTI.

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 that the tweets made by the actor were highly objectionable and were an attempt to "undermine the image of the Indian judiciary."

TADA Judge PD Kode who sent Yakub to the gallows, said Khan's tweets were his 'opinion' and that everyone had a right to his or her opinion as a right to freedom of speech but the question was how 'relevant' were they.

Asked about Salman's earlier tweets, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "Anyone and everyone in this country should respect the law of this country. No one is above the law of the country. The case has been going on in various courts of law for last 20 years."

And Congress leader Milind Deora tweeted that he had spoken to the actor last night and today and Salman "doesn't believe Yakub Memon isn't guilty and was only spotlighting his brother's cowardice."

(With PTI inputs)

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