Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has become the latest high profile figure to speak out against “extreme intolerance” in India.
Khan, who turned 50 on Monday said, “there is intolerance, there is extreme intolerance… there is, I think… there is growing intolerance.”
He said he “respected” people returning awards to protest against intolerance.
A movement that began with writers returning state awards has spread to scientists, historians and filmmakers.
They have cited the killing of rationalists MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, as well as the lynching of a man over suspicions he consumed beef, as examples of rising intolerance in India.
More than 50 historians have returned national and state awards, joining almost 40 writers who have done the same.
Scientists and film makers have also joined the protest, while some people in the business community have expressed concerns.
“We have made a huge thing about our meat-eating habits. How can the food habits of people be an issue?” Khan told the NDTV news channel.