Toronto/Mumbai: With Tamils in India and Canada saying they are "profoundly saddened" by Amitabh Bachchan's proposed visit to Sri Lanka to host the India International Film Awards (IIFA) function, the megastar on Monday responded saying he would respect everyone's sentiments.
"The sentiments of all must be respected and I hope that we can plan and execute that with understanding, peace and grace," Amitabh, the IIFA brand ambassador, posted on his blog referring to the protests by Tamil groups.
A group of Tamils had marched from the superstar's Pratiksha bungalow to his Jalsa residence on Sunday here urging him to boycott the Colombo awards ceremony and the protest was joined by Canadian Tamils too.
"A Tamil group picketed my houses, asking me to not conduct IIFA in Sri Lanka. I beckoned personnel from Wiz (Wizcraft) who own and conduct IIFA, to come and meet me to discuss this matter and give it due importance," Bachchan wrote in his response to the protests.
"I believe Wizcraft personnel met representatives of this protest presentation along with the police personnel that came over from the Juhu Police station, heard what they had to say, accepted a petition given by them, explained to them their side of the story and told them that the governing body of the event would meet immediately to conference on this matter and reach some kind of final path and solution."
The Canadian Tamil Congress Sunday said, "Amitabh is a great hero for us in the Tamil diaspora, but we are very disturbed and profoundly saddened by our hero's proposed visit to a regime which has perpetrated crimes against Tamils. By visiting Sri Lanka, Amitabh will be lending credibility to a regime which has destroyed Tamils ruthlessly and committed horrendous human rights violations."
"When Tamils continue to suffer in Sri Lanka and numerous human rights bodies have implicated the regime in crimes against humanity, we plead with a person of Bachchan's stature not to go there to help a government that is desperately seeking recognition from the world community in spite of its crimes."
Canada is home to 300,000 Tamils from Sri Lanka, making them the largest group outside the island nation.
The Tamil protesters in Mumbai said they expected Amitabh to display solidarity.
"We urge him not to attend the function in Colombo as a symbol of solidarity for the Tamilian cause in Sri Lanka. Tamils have been subjected to atrocities and war crimes perpetrated by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in that country," C Rajendran, spokesperson for the protesters in Mumbai.