‘Must Show Solidarity With Jawans Who Ensure Our Safety’

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Mumbai: Amitabh Bachchan has not signed on to sing a tribute to the soldiers who died in the terror attack at Uri in Kashmir, the actor told reporters on Tuesday on his 74th birthday.

Amid the demand for ban on Pakistani actors after the Uri terror attack, megastar Amitabh Bachchan said the nation is incensed and it is time to express solidarity with the Indian jawans.

To a question regarding the issue during a press conference here on the occasion of his birthday today, Bachchan also said he respects all artistes. Following the Uri attack, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS had raised objection to Pakistani artistes working in India.

When asked if Bollywood is divided over supporting Pakistani artistes working in India, Bachchan said, “With folded hands I request you that this is not the time and I don’t think it is right to put forward these questions.”

Mr Bachchan said that an MP had mooted the idea to him, but the discussion ended there.
Nineteen soldiers were killed after four terrorists from across the border attacked the army base at Uri on September 18. On September 29, the army revealed it had carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control against terrorists who were readying to enter India and attack major cities.

After initially expressing firm support and appreciation of the action, the opposition Congress and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have asked for proof of the cross-border raids, suggesting this would upend Pakistan’s denial of the strikes. Sources have said that the operation was filmed, and that whether to release the footage will be a “political and diplomatic call” by the government.

The Congress has also said that while it was in power, similar strikes were carried out thrice, but that its government did not publicize the action to preserve crucial secrecy for the army’s operations as well as to avoid aggravating Pakistan into retaliation.

“This is not the time to discuss these matters,” said Mr Bachchan. “People are very angry in this country (with terror attacks), we must show solidarity with the jawans who ensure we are all safe here,” he said.

The megastar, who turned 74 today, felt that considering the grave situation at the border one should express solidarity with Indian soldiers.

“Who said what and why, where and how, this is not the time for it. The nation is incensed, the people of this country are very angry by the incidents that are happening at our border,” he said.

“I think it is time to express solidarity with our jawans, armed forces who are sacrificing their life so that you and me can be safe now. That’s what needs to be put in question and nothing else.”

When asked if an artiste from a country should be banned or not, he said, “I have answered this question earlier. I respect all artistes.”

Bachchan refuted reports that he would be singing a song for Uri martyrs.

“This is not correct. I was in New Delhi where a Member of Parliament was acknowledging the Hanuman Chalisa, Ganpati aarti and he said I should sing for this (Uri martyrs). I said yes ok but I need some inputs. I think he went and said I should sing (for Uri martyrs), and from ‘should’ it became ‘will’, you (media) know better how it happens,” he said.