‘Khan The Clueless’ says he’s sorry

2010-09-13 13:39

Bollywood actor Salman Khan has apologised after sparking criticism for claiming that the 2008 Mumbai attacks attracted widespread publicity only because the elite were targeted.

The actor – who is one of the Indian film industry’s leading Muslim actors – also questioned Indian claims that the Pakistani state helped plan the atrocities.

In an interview recorded three weeks ago with a Pakistani television channel, widely reported in the Indian press today, he said that “everybody knows” that the Pakistani government was not behind the attacks.

“Too much hype has been created around the 26/11 (November 26) attacks because elite people were targeted. Attacks have happened in trains and small towns but no one talked about it so much,” he said.

Instead, he blamed the failure of India’s own security agencies.

Following demands from right-wing Hindu nationalist political groups for a public retraction, and criticism in the newspapers, one of which called him “Khan The Clueless”, the 44-year-old apologised to his fans.

“I think I messed up, so sorry guys,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter today.

Khan’s tweeted apology came after he posted a statement on the video-sharing site YouTube claiming his comments had been “twisted around”.

“I saw it myself, the way it is coming across on the TV. It’s sounding insensitive,” he said.

“I was just saying that life is equal... it is the same. Some attacks had more media coverage than the others. Why is that? I think every human life is as important,” he added.

“I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s sentiments and if I have hurt anybody’s sentiments, I am really, really sorry.”

A total of 166 people died and more than 300 others were wounded in the Mumbai attacks when 10 Islamist gunmen laid siege to three luxury hotels, a popular tourist restaurant, Jewish centre and the city’s main railway station.

India accuses the banned, Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba of funding, training and equipping the gunmen with help from elements in the Pakistani military.

Khan’s newly released film, “Dabangg” (Fearless), has been critically acclaimed and a box-office hit.

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