Om Puri was all praise for Pakistan in general and Lahore in particular for its cultural extravaganza and said that had there been no partition, Lahore would have been the centre of the Indian film industry, had partition not taken place.
“Lahore is a great historical city,” said the Dirty Politics actor.
Demonstrating logic and open mindedness, the Indian actor said that he would often get into an argument with some of his countrymen who were of the opinion that Pakistan was an extremist nation and its people harboured a fundamentalist mentality.
“If they really are extremist, then why are their schools and mosques being bombed and their people being killed as well,?” he questioned. “I request all those misled people to quit the ways which lead to hatred. Allah has warned against taking lives of innocent people, then why being humans such elements were behaving like animals,” he said.
Speaking on intolerance in India, Om Puri made it clear which side of the fence he was on, as regards to the beef ban in India. Criticising the movie, he called those who had banned beef in India as ‘hypocrites’ since India also earned from beef exports.
“We export beef and earn dollars from it,” he said.
Om Puri also criticised Shiv Sena for forcing Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali to cancel his concerts in India. Om Puri said that he regretted the incident and stated that it should not have happened. He also said that around eighty to ninety percent Indians were secular and did not hold any grudge against Pakistan. Speaking in a lighter tone, Puri said that if he felt threatened by extremists in India, he would move to Pakistan.
Intolerance has been on the rise in India, with a ban on beef and the subsequent lynching of a man from Dadri. Following the incident, many Indian artists returned their awards in protest, which also led to more intolerance debates in the country. Actor Aamir Khan was loathed and criticised by extremist Hindu elements within India. A reward of INR 100,000 was also announced for any person who would slap the Bollywood actor, after he said that his wife suggested him to leave the country for his safety.