Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has reportedly been dropped as the ambassador for India's Tourism Ministry campaign. The 50-year-old caused controversy in November 2015 when he echoed views that India was becoming increasingly intolerant.
Although the Tourism Ministry has not yet released an official statement, the Business Standard has reported that Khan has been removed as a brand ambassador for the "Incredible India" campaign. No further information has been provided on the announcement, however, Amit Malviya, the national head of Digital Communication for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party confirmed the news on Twitter.
Speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in November, Khan sparked fury when he said his wife Kiran Rao suggested they should leave India due to a "sense of growing disquiet" and "growing despondency" in the country. Following the uproar over his comments, the Bollywood actor said he stood by his comments but that his family had no intention of leaving India. He accused those creating a storm of "deliberately trying to distort what he said".
In a statement published on Facebook on 25 November, Khan wrote: "Let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born here, and this is where I am staying. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone's permission nor endorsement for that."
Despite his attempt to set the record straight, a number of people, including political leaders, criticised the actor. Following the alleged move by the Tourism Ministry to drop Khan from its Incredible India campaign, anti-Khan sentiments were stirred again on social media. Incredible India quickly began trending on Twitter on 6 January as thousands commended the announcement.
UPDATE (1.15pm GMT): India's Ministry of Tourism has released a statement denying media reports that Aamir Khan was dropped as the Incredible India ambassador.