NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar took a shot at Bollywood actor Aamir Khan on Saturday. Referring to Khan’s 2015 remark about rising intolerance in India, Parrikar - without naming the actor - said, “One actor had said that his wife wants to live out of India. It was an arrogant statement. If I am poor and my house is small, I will still love my house and always dream to make a bungalow out of it.”

The Defence Minister added that those who “speak against the nation” need to be “taught a lesson,” and commended the reaction to Khan’s original statement, specifically referring to users uninstalling the mobile application of an online shopping site the actor was associated with. "Such people who speak against the country need to be taught a lesson by the people of this country," Parrikar said.

The online backlash that the actor faced caused the online shopping site to not renew his contract as brand ambassador. Parrikar said that his team keeps a track of such statements, and that following Khan’s comment, his team asked people to return products from the online site Khan was associated with, prompting the online company to remove the advertisements featuring the actor.

This endorsement of online bullying by the Defence Minister of the country has sparked a wave of condemnation, with political parties and politicians leading the way.

In a strongly worded statement, Rahul Gandhi said, “RSS & Parrikarji want to teach everyone a lesson. Here's a lesson for you: hate is the preserve of the coward and it never wins.”

Other Congress party members too criticised the Defence Minister’s statement.

Others said: