On August 15, Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan posted a picture of her meeting Bollywood star Aamir Khan on Twitter. It soon went viral.
“I had the great pleasure of meeting @aamir_khan, the world-renowned Indian actor, filmmaker, and director, in Istanbul…” Emine Erdogan tweeted after meeting the Muslim actor, who was in Turkey to shoot his latest film, Laal Singh Chaddha.
Pro-government supporters were furious at Khan for taking a picture with the wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has criticised the Indian government’s decision to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its special status last August.
Erdogan has backed Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir, a territory both India and Pakistan claim as its own but rule in parts.
New Delhi told Ankara not to “interfere” in its internal affairs after President Erdogan expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the Muslim-majority region, which has been under security lockdown since its limited autonomy was removed on August 5, 2019.
India also acted against Malaysia for criticising its Kashmir move by banning the import of palm oil from the Asia Pacific nation.
Khan, one of the biggest Bollywood stars, was soon the top Twitter trending topic along with Erdogan, with Hindu nationalists branding the film star “anti-national” and “unpatriotic” for standing with the “enemy”.
His criticism was not limited to social media, where the pro-government users dominate. A recent report by The Wall Street Journal said Facebook India executives failed to act against anti-Muslim posts by governing party leaders. Facebook has about 300 million users in India.