New Delhi: At veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar’s state-sponsored funeral in Mumbai on Sunday (February 6), Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan offered dua and said a prayer while paying his respects. As is custom, he blew into the wind when he was done, momentarily lowering his mask.
Despite this being a common, well-documented Islamic ritual, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and supporters decided to make it appear on social media as if Khan was “spitting” on Mangeshkar. The state in-charge of BJP Haryana, Arun Yadav, was one of the first to make this allegation, tweeting “Kya isne thuka hai (Did he spit)?” along with a video clip.
क्या इसने थूका है ❓ pic.twitter.com/RZOa2NVM5I
— Arun Yadav (@beingarun28) February 6, 2022
At the time of publication, Yadav’s tweet was still visible for all to see, despite it now having been refuted many times over. No other BJP leader has come forward in Khan’s defence or to censure Yadav for his false, provocative comment thus far.
Another BJP leader, the party’s Uttar Pradesh spokesperson Prashant Umrao, too made this allegation.
Shahrukh is Spitting! https://t.co/mhX8i7lnNk
— Prashant Umrao (@ippatel) February 6, 2022
Other right-wing Hindu social media users too jumped on this bandwagon, and the clip of Khan blowing after offering dua went viral.
SRK saying a prayer for Lata Mangeshkar.
His fans sharing the picture; call it a nice gesture.
Most people call it a nice tribute and a superstar being there and paying his respects tells you about the loss.
But, of course, vile right-wing folks would play their character. pic.twitter.com/50RDlp96KG
— Abhishek Baxi (@baxiabhishek) February 6, 2022
Several people responded to Yadav and others by clarifying what Khan’s action denoted, and also slammed them for having such little knowledge of Islamic customs. Other fans of Khan’s also appreciated his tribute at Mangeshkar’s funeral.
Srk did not spit, he blew to ward off evil for Lataji as per his religion & if people read more like I did, they would understand. As for can Hindus pray at funeral of someone from a Muslim faith, then the answer is Yes.
Because, I have & no one had a problem with it.
— Kr1shna (@krishna_Ind1an) February 6, 2022
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) February 6, 2022
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused the BJP of trying to communalise the event, saying Yadav was speaking not out of “peak stupidity” but “peak evil”.
There are no depths to which BJP will not stoop to – Haryana BJP leader tries to communalize Shah Rukh Khan offering prayers during Lata Mangeshkar’s last rights.
Its not peak stupidity – this is peak evil which needs to be eradicated. BJP must go!https://t.co/cvZOtuCTmZ
— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) February 7, 2022
Featured image: Actor Shah Rukh Khan pays his last respects to legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar during her funeral, at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Sunday, February 6, 2022. Photo: PTI
This article was first published on The Wire.