Lahore: Veteran Bollywood actor Om Puri on a three-day visit to the festival organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop was interacting with the media spoke on the cow slaughter issue saying that people across the world eat beef and should be permitted in India as well and those who wanted to put a ban on slaughtering cows in India were hypocrites.
“We export beef and earn dollars from it. I want to ask them if they will fight people eating beef everywhere in the world?” he asked.
The 65 year-old actor referred the Dadri lynching incident a shameful act for the country and said that he will come to Pakistan if ever threatened by extremist elements in India.
“Some 80 to 90 per cent people in India are secular and they hold no grudge against Pakistanis,” the actor said.
Puri said to those Indians who saw Pakistan as an extremist country, he often argues that if that was the case then why schools and mosques in Pakistan were bombed. “Allah has warned against taking lives of innocent people, why being humans such elements were behaving like animals,” he asked.
The actor also said the governments of India and Pakistan should not be scared of hardliners.” There are two locks on Pakistani and Indian sides and the keys to these locks are in the hands of Nawaz Sharif and Modi. Unlocking these will afford people on both sides an opportunity to interact with each other,”
Only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif can ensure people-to-people contact on both sides, Puri said at the International Film Festival at the Alhamra Art Center here yesterday.
Puri, who has done varied roles and won many awards for his realistic portrayals in cinema, said he got so much love and respect in Pakistan that he wanted to come here every year.
Narrating his childhood memories and struggle in early life, Puri said when he was six, his father, who was a railway employee, was put behind bars on allegation of cement theft at the railways store.”We had to vacate the railway quarters and my mother rented out a room. She sent my elder brother to railway station to work as coolie and I was sent to a kiosk to serve tea to customers,” he said and jokingly remarked that, “if I had a tea shop, I would have been the Prime Minister of India.”
With inputs from PTI