By Seema Sinha
Hrithik Roshan may have thought he was being witty when he tweeted that he "was more likely to be dating the Pope" than any of the actresses the media had been linking him up with, after his divorce from Sussanne Khan.
But the wisecrack has landed the actor in a whole lot of trouble, as he was served a legal notice by Abraham Mathai, the former vice chairman of the State Minorities Commission. Mathai is also the president of Indian Christian Voice. Hrithik has been accused of hurting the sentiments of the Christian community by his remark about their religious head.
The notice against Hrithik was filed by Mathai under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, for making "unwarranted" and "uncalled for" remarks against the Pope on Twitter on January 28. Incidentally, Mathai' notice has been sent by Rizwan Siddique — the same lawyer who has been representing Kangana Ranaut in her legal spat with Hrithik.
Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code states that "Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs – Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both."
In an interview with Scroll, Abraham Mathai said, "Hrithik Roshan has the right to have a relationship with anyone, but he doesn’t have the right to draw in the Pope. This has unfortunate inferences — it suggests that the Pope is gay. I’ve asked Roshan for an unconditional apology. It hurts the Catholic community for whom the Pope is a revered personality.”
Hrithik's tweet was reportedly in response to an interview by Kangana Ranaut — with whom he had been linked by the press — in which she spoke about a "silly ex". Kangana had not specifically named Hrithik in the interview.
But things came to a head earlier this month when it emerged that both actors had sent legal notices to each other — Hrithik alleging that Kangana had stalked him and denying that they had ever been in a relationship, while Kangana's notice had claimed that she had been threatened and intimidated by Hrithik, who was trying to cover up their affair.
She had given the actor seven days to withdraw his complaint.
With this second legal notice for Hrithik, it seems his troubles are only just beginning.