The extremist ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has created controversy on the occasion of the last rites of legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar on Monday when one of the leaders accused Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan of spitting on the body.

Arun Yadav, state-in-charge of BJP Haryana IT, sparked controversy by posting a video of the actor when he lowered his mask to blow on her after reciting a dua.

Crowds gathered outside Mangeshkar’s home, from where her coffin was taken to a park where it was publicly cremated. PM Narendra Modi was among those who laid flowers on the pyre as hundreds gathered to say a final farewell.

Aamir, along with his daughter Ira, and Ranbir were pictured paying their respects to the iconic singer.

Shah Rukh Khan also paid tribute to the legendary singer by reciting a dua [prayer] but when he lowered his mask to blow air on her — a customary act known as phoonka— some people claimed he spit on her.

Arun Yadav posted a video on Twitter asking whether the actor had spit.

When he was bullied on the social media, Yadav again turned to twitter and asked Shah Rukh to blow his son.

“If you want to blow it, then blow it for the son who is blowing the goods lying in the house,” he tweeted.

BJP Uttar Pradesh Spokesperson Prashant Umrao repeated the claim, saying “Shahrukh is Spitting!”

Former CBI director M Nageswara Rao tagged the actor in a tweet asking if he’d spit and said being a public figure he is “required to give public clarification immediately.”

This is not the first time the My Name is Khan actor has been targeted solely on the basis of his religion — right before the big release of his film Pathan, “Boycott Shah Rukh Khan” started trending on Indian social media. Some Twitterati claimed that the Bollywood star had hurt some religious sentiments over and over again. They shared images, news clippings and incidents from the past where Khan was seen speaking in support of Pakistani cricket players, speaking of intolerance in India and his photos with PM Imran Khan, branding him as a “Pakistan lover” and a terrorist.

In Oct 2021, Shah Rukh’s son Aryan Khan was taken into custody by India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) alleged possession of banned drugs and substance abuse on board a cruise ship and denied bail, dragging the case on for 28 days before Aryan was finally released from jail. Netizens claimed that this was purely a bigoted reaction and was treated with measures too extreme for “alleged” drug possession.

The actor’s respectful gesture at Mangeshkar’s funeral, however, won hearts all over the nation and people were quick to rush to his defence. Congress leader Supriya Shrinate responded and accused Yadav of spreading hatred. “You aren’t just a bigot but pure evil to twist a dua said in reverence of the departed soul to spread hatred,” she wrote.

Chandra Kumar Bose, a sidelined BJP leader and grandnephew of Indian nationalist Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, tweeted that “This is the real heritage & culture of India. Certain religious bigots cannot digest it!”

Bollywood film producer, Priya Gupta, simply wrote “This is called dua,” as a shut up call to all those maligning the respectful gesture.

A user condemned Islamophobia and said, “In fact you all are spitting venom out there. So stop!”

It is absolutely absurd that some people will resort to twisting acts of respect to create controversy when there is none, even in such a sensitive time. This is a time to honour a legend, not ask foolish and pointed questions, trying to get people riled up. No one with an ounce of grey matter would spit during a funeral and for this BJP leader to even suggest it is beyond ridiculous.Rather than spread bigotry with foolish questions, Mangeshkar’s funeral and the two national days of mourning in India should be spent remembering the legendary singer and her major contributions to music in the subcontinent.

Mangeshkar was one of India’s most beloved singers, her voice was the soundtrack to hundreds of Bollywood films. She’d sung in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and other regional languages. She was honoured with the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award as well as several National and Filmfare Awards. Her extraordinary career spanned more than half a century and she recorded thousands of songs in 36 languages.

She is beloved in India as well as Pakistan and many other countries and she deserves far more respect than having foolish people on Twitter trying to spin controversy out of her well-wishers saying their final farewells at her funeral.


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