Under all round criticism, Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit today justified their participation in the Uttar Pradesh government's cultural event in Saifai village, saying they were there for charity.
The government and the stars are facing public criticism for the extravaganza at the ancestral village of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, at a time when Muzaffarnagar riot victims are suffering.
47-year-old Salman, who drew the ire of online users with many tweeting to boycott his upcoming release 'Jai Ho', said his charity organisation Being Human has donated Rs 25 lakh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College & Hospital in the state.
"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..."
"And in Etawah, Being Human, on behalf of all artists who performed yesterday, has committed to fund 200 paediatric heart surgeries in UP... 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," Salman wrote on his Facebook page.
Dixit, whose latest release 'Dedh Ishqiya' got an aid of Rs 1 crore sum from the UP government, also took to Twitter to defend her participation.
"As artists and celebrities, we believe in using our reach to help others through drawing attention to the needs of the day," Madhuri, 46, tweeted.
"For UP, on behalf of the artists who performed at Safai, Being Human is donating Rs 25 lakhs to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College," she further tweeted.
Besides Salman and Madhuri, the event was attended by celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Sara Khan, Elli Avram, Mallika Sherawat, Zarine Khan, music composer duo Sajid-Wajid, singer Javed Ali and many other TV actors.