Salman, Madhuri defends Saifai participation

Mumbai, Jan 9 : Faced by severe criticisms, Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit Nene on Thursday defended their presence and participation in the Uttar Pradesh government's cultural event Saifai Mahotsav, saying they were there for charity.

Salman posted on his Facebook page, "Whenever I visit a place for a performance or a promotion, I see it as an opportunity to help the locals in the areas of healthcare or education. In Nagpur, on Sunday, Being Human pledged to fund 100 paediatric cardiac cases in Maharashtra State."

The superstar said that in Etawah, his NGO brand Being Human, on behalf of all artists who performed on Wednesday, has committed to fund 200 paediatric heart surgeries in UP.

"And in Etawah, Being Human, on behalf of all artists who performed yesterday, has committed to fund 200 paediatric heart surgeries in UP (there is already a wait list of 81 children we have received who are being moved to Fortis Hospital Gurgaon and their surgeries will get done by month end and Being Human is in touch with local NGOs and hospitals for their lists also)," Khan, who had performed at the event, said.

The actor has contributed Rs 25 lakh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College & Hospital in the state.

"We have also contributed Rs 25 lakh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College & Hospital for the purchase of an Echo Machine, Pediatric & neo natal ventilator and a portable X-ray machine for their paediatric cardiac ICU," he said in his post.

Several other Bollywood stars, including Madhuri Dixit Nene, performed at the event here after being invited by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Music directors Sajid-Wajid also gave a performance on the occasion.

Defending her stand, Madhuri tweeted: "As artists and celebrities, we believe in using our reach to help others through drawing attention to the needs of the day.'

"For UP, on behalf of the artists who performed at Safai, Being Human is donating Rs. 25 lakhs to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College," the actress tweeted.

The state Chief Minister also attended the mahotsav on Wednesday even as his government faced criticisms over the Muzaffarnagar riots issue.

The event was held at a time when the issue of Muzaffarnagar riots and several victims forced to leave the camps set up for them triggered a controversy in the political paradigm of the state.

While at least 34 children had died of cold at Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in the relief camps set for riot victims late last year, the government had spent crores of rupees for the programme.

Communal riots struck Muzaffarnagar in September last year, leaving nearly 60 people dead and close to 40,000 homeless.

The violence was triggered when a young Muslim man was killed allegedly by Hindus for reportedly sexually harassing a woman.

With the spreading of the riots, thousands of people fled their homes and crowded relief camps where living conditions are poor and winter worsened the situation. Nearly 4000 of them have refused to return home fearing more violence.

--IBNS (Posted on 09-01-2014)

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