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July 10, 1999
Shatrughan Sinha supports Dilip Kumar
Film star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha today disagreed with the demand from various quarters that Dilip Kumar should renounce the 'Nishan-e-Pakistan' award conferred on him by the Pakistani Government.
"I respect the sentiments of the people in view of the ongoing Kargil conflict. But they are just going overboard. Hounding Dilip Kumar to prove his patriotism is not right," Sinha told reporters in Bombay.
He said the award was in recognition of Dilip Kumar's contribution to cinema. "Each and every Indian stands by the government and the army in the present circumstances, but channels which bring people of the two countries closer should not be shut," he said.
"Should Home Minister L K Advani, former prime minister I K Gujral, film star Dev Anand and many others who have migrated from Pakistan after Partition be asked to destroy their educational certificates?" he asked.
Referring to the stoning of the Pakistan Airlines office and the demand for cancellation of permission for its flights to land in the country, Sinha said: "This politics of josh (passion) will not help in improving relations between the two countries. Why do we forget that even Indian Airlines has an office in Pakistan?"
Asked about the offer to act in a Pakistani film made to him during his visit to Lahore with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Sinha said he is yet to go through the script.
Asked whether he would work in Pakistan if he liked the script, he said it would depend on stabilising of relations between the neighbours. "We are just artistes. Our loyalty to our nation should not be doubted," he said.
Meanwhile, film-makers Mahesh Bhatt and Anand Patwardhan, actor Jayant Kriplani, journalist Nikhil Wagle and many others have come out in defence of Dilip Kumar.
In a signed statement, they said the war in Kargil is not irreversible. If it was, then the logical conclusion would be that both nations would destroy each other with their nuclear weapons.
The fact is that no war between India and Pakistan can be won or lost conclusively. In other words, they said, negotiations and rebuilding the peace process is the only option. And people like Dilip Kumar, various Indo-Pak citizens' peace initiatives, and the peace marchers who have embarked upon a three-month padayatra from Pokhran to Sarnath are a bridge over troubled waters. Those who want to attack these messengers of peace do so at their own peril.
The statement said a day would come when Dilip Kumar and hundreds of people in India and Pakistan who stand for peace and reconciliation in times of war will be hailed as the real patriots, and those who bay for the blood of imaginary enemies will be seen for what they are: traitors to the human race.
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