Naseeruddin Shah, in a recent conversation with an NGO named Karwan-e-Mohabbat, expressed his concern over a growing ambiance of fear and violence (pertaining to religious differences) in the country. Indirectly referring to the Bulandshahr incident wherein a police officer was killed by an angry mob, he said he feared for his children since neither he nor his wife Ratna Pathak Shah gave their sons any religious tutorial. "So, I fear for my children. Because if a mob gathers around them and asks them are you a Hindu or Muslim, they will not have any answer... Because they have no religion," he said.
We foresaw a controversy coming, especially because we have had a number of them in the recent past. Athlete Yogeshwar Dutt, an Olympic medalist who also brought home a gold in the recently held Asian Games, was one of the people who didn't receive Shah's statement well. He took to Twitter to slam the actor and asked him whether he was scared during the 1984 riots, the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts or the 26/11 terrorist attacks. He advised Shah not to call himself a patriot after sympathising with terrorists. On that context, Shah was one of the eminent personalities who signed a petition to the then President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking a mercy plea for terrorist Yakub Memon who was later executed.
Shah also received backlash from BJP MP Rakesh Sinha who said, "Naseeruddin Shah should first ask Rohingya to leave Hindustan as according to him India is unsafe for him and his family. An artist should not be part of a sinister design of anti-civil society propaganda. His statement shows his low thinking."