A day after Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir condemned the alleged assault of a Muslim man in Gurugram, actor Anupam Kher advised him not to try to become popular with “a section of the media”. On Monday, the newly elected East Delhi MP had called the alleged attack deplorable and sought exemplary action by Haryana authorities.

Mohammad Barkat was allegedly beaten up on Saturday by a group of men at Jacubpura in Gurugram. The 25-year-old was returning to his shop after offering prayers when the group accosted him. Barkat alleged that the men threatened to feed him pork when he refused to listen to them. “Exemplary action needed by Gurugram authorities. We are a secular nation,” Gambhir had tweeted. His tweet got more than 4,500 comments.

On Tuesday, Kher asked Gambhir to refrain from making such statements. “Dear Gautam Gambhir, Congratulations on your win,” Kher said on Twitter. “As a passionate Indian it made me very happy. Not that you have asked for my advice but still - Don’t get into a trap of getting popular with a section of media. It is your work that will speak. Not necessarily your statements.”

Kher is the husband of Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher of the BJP.

Many asked Gambhir on Monday why he was “being selective” by responding to an attack on member from a minority community. Defending his comments, Gambhir tweeted, “My thoughts on secularism emanate from honourable PM Narendra Modi’s mantra ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas [development for all, with all, and earning everyone’s trust]. I am not limiting myself to Gurugram incident alone, any oppression based on caste/religion is deplorable.”

Senior leaders of the saffron party claimed many partymen in Delhi felt Gambhir “spoke out of turn, especially given that Haryana is a BJP-ruled state and Assembly elections are just months away”. A BJP leader said Gambhir should not have commented because “investigation is still under way and facts are being ascertained”.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also toed the party line and cautioned that a section of people could try to “paint things with a communal angle” now that the saffron party is in power. “People need to be cautious so that they are not misled by such rumours. East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir has reacted with innocence to this matter,” Tiwari said, according to NDTV.