Under attack over his remarks on intolerance, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan today asserted that he stood by his comments and made it clear that neither he nor his wife Kiran Rao have any intention of leaving the country.
50-year-old Aamir, who drew flak from BJP and a section of film fraternity for expressing his "alarm and despondency" over the rise in recent incidents of intolerance, came out with a statement, saying he is "proud to be an Indian".
"First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future.
"Anyone implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying," he said.
The actor had kicked up a political storm with his remarks at a function in Delhi on Monday about his wife expressing fear for their child in the current atmosphere.
He had said, "Kiran and I have lived all our life in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India… She fears for her child, she fears about what the atmosphere around us will be."
In his statement today, a defiant Aamir showed no signs of relenting in the face of fierce criticism.
"I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone's permission nor endorsement for that," he said.