Actor Naseeruddin Shah, who is "angry" about the rise of mob violence, has said "poison" has spread in the Indian society where at some places, the death of a cow is given more significance than of a police officer, an indirect reference to the recent Bulandshahr violence where a police officer was killed allegedly by cow vigilantes.
The actor, married to Ratna Pathak Shah, raised concerns about the safety of his children who, he said, do not follow any specific religion.
His comments, which have provoked a debate, are a part of a video interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat India. It was shared on its YouTube channel earlier this week.
The Congress has endorsed Naseeruddin's views, and tweeted: "Naseeruddin Shah we concur, do not fear the hate, fight it."
"The poison has spread. It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back into the bottle again. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their hands. In many areas we are witnessing that the death of a cow is given more significance than that of a police officer," said the veteran actor.
The father of actors Vivaan Shah and Imaad Shah, Nasseruddin said he feels worried about his children.
"I had received regional education as a child. Ratna is from a liberal household, so she had next to none. And we chose not to give any religious education to our children. Because I believe that being good or evil has nothing to do with religion.
"We taught them what our beliefs are. I did make them learn a few verses from the Quran Sharif because I believe reciting them improves one's articulation, Just like one's Hindi articulation improves after reading the Ramayana and Mahabharata in its original (form)," he said.
Elaborating on why he feels anxious about his children, Naseeruddin said: "Because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them, and asks, 'are you a Hindu or a Muslim?'... They will have no answer. It worries me because I don't see the situation improving anytime soon.
"These matters don't scare me. They make me angry. And I want that every right-thinking person should feel angry, not scared. This is our home, who can dare to evict us from here?" he asked.