Salman Khan finds perils of social media in a hard way

The star is forced to withdraw tweets on Mumbai blasts accused and hanging issue

GN Bureau | July 27, 2015


#salman khan   #yakub memon   #tiger memon   #salim khan   #bollywood  

His film Bajrangi Bhaijaan is doing good business and there is immediate threat to his superstardom, still Salman Khan chose a controversial subject to hit the social media. And after protests and virtually nil support from his fraternity in the Bollywood, actor Salman Khan on Sunday evening apologised for saying that the 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon should not hang but his brother Tiger Memon should.

Yakub is the brother of one of the main accused, Tiger Memon, who along with others is absconding. India believes that Tiger and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim (another prime suspect) are in Pakistan. Yakub is set to hang in the Nagpur jail on July 30 if his petition in supreme court is rejected today (Monday).

The 49-year-old actor took refuge behind his father Salim Khan’s words while retracting the tweets. Salman said his father wanted him to retract his tweets "as they have the potential to create misunderstanding". And he promptly deleted the tweets. Salim Khan had told a media house that "Salman should have thought sensitively before tweeting in support of Yakub."

Social media allows you to engage and converse with your fan base in a meaningful way. But it is a double-edged sword. Over promotion can go wrong.  One of the lessons in social media strategy is to avoid deletion of negative reviews.

Salman’s clarification said that he never sought to imply that Yakub Memon was not involved in the deadly 1993 blasts that left 257 people dead. "What I said is that Yakub Memon should not hang for him (Tiger). I have not said or implied that Yakub Memon is innocent. I have complete faith in the judicial system of our country.

"Many lives were lost in the Mumbai blasts. And I have repeatedly said the loss of (even) one innocent life is equal to the loss of all humanity.

"My dad ... said I should retract my tweets as they have the potential to create misunderstanding. I hereby retract them.

"I would like to unconditionally apologize for any misunderstanding I may have created unintentionally.

"I also strongly condemn those who are claiming my tweets are anti-religious. I have always said I respect all faiths and I always will," the actor tweeted.

His tweets, which attracted online and offline reactions, called Tiger Memon a coward for letting his brother face the gallows. "We can die for our family. Tiger, your brother will be hanged for you in some days. Say something, make a statement or address that it was you. What kind of brother are you?"

He directly addressed Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif to share details about Tiger's whereabouts with Indian authorities. "Where are you hiding Tiger? Sharif Saab, I would request you to let us know about Tiger, if you have any information about him.”

Salman's tweets forced Maharashtra government to deploy around 50 policemen outside his residence in Galaxy Apartment in Bandra in due to fear of violence.

Ujjwal Nikam, who directed the prosecution in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, criticized Salman Khan. Politicians jumped into the controversy and demanded cancellation of Salman’s bail in hit and run accident case. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mumbai president Ashish Shelar said his remarks an "insult to all Mumbaikars". Shelar sought the cancellation of Salman's bail against his five-year jail term in the 2002 hit and run accident case. BJP Mumbai North-East MP Kirit Somaiya said that he would raise the matter in parliament on Monday.

The Ek tha Tiger star may have found out in a hard way that the social media is a tiger, easy to mount but difficult to dismount. Once the comment goes into the public domain, the person has to give up control over it. One just cannot control the reaction and what people are saying. It is always advised to look for similar reactions to the sentiments that are yours and then only publish on the social media. This is especially true for the celebrities like Salman Khan.

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