Mumbai, Oct 11: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has withdrawn from an advertising campaign of a paan masala brand and said he has returned the money he received for promoting it.

The 79-year-old actor had faced backlash for featuring in an advertisement of a paan masala brand. Several fans of the screen icon had expressed their displeasure over the actor's decision.

A blog post, addressed by "the office of Mr Amitabh Bachchan", on Sunday night informed that he is no longer associated with the promotions.

"A few days after the commercial was aired, Mr Bachchan contacted the brand and stepped out of it last week. Upon checking why this sudden move - it was revealed that when Mr Bachchan became associated with the brand, he wasn't aware that it falls under surrogate advertising.

"Mr Bachchan has terminated the contract with the brand, has written to them his termination and has returned the money received for the promotion," the post read.

Last month, the National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), an NGO, had also appealed to Bachchan to not be part of advertisements that promote paan masala brands.

In an open letter, NOTE president Dr Shekhar Salkar had said that the actor should withdraw from "surrogate" paan masala advertisements and support the cause of the anti-tobacco movement.

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.