Actor Rajinikanth has politely stated to protesting groups that he will not apologize for a speech that he delivered at a recent private event. His comments had caused a furore among supporters of social reformer and Dravidian movement icon EV Ramaswamy Naicker, who is fondly known as Periyar.
Periyar’s influence looms large over Tamil Nadu’s politics as both dominant parties the DMK and AIADMK have followed the path of the Dravidian leader. However, none of the major political parties have reacted to Rajini’s statement and it’s only the Periyarist fringe groups that have demanded an apology.
During the 50th anniversary event of the weekly magazine ‘Thuglak’, Rajini had lauded the magazine’s founder Late Cho Ramaswamy for having carried a cover story of a 1971 rally in Salem, that was led by Periyar himself. Rajini stated that Thuglak was the only magazine to carry the story on the incident where pictures of Lord Ram were garlanded with slippers and paraded.
He said the Tamil magazine was the only one to cover this event, adding that the founder Cho Ramaswamy had condemned this. “This brought a bad name to the ruling DMK who did not want the magazine to be circulated,” Rajinikanth said, adding, “The issue was seized by the government but Cho reprinted it and the magazine was sold in black. What was once sold for Rs 10, was then sold for Rs 50 and Rs 60.”
Members of pro-Periyar fringe groups have also filed a complaint against Rajinikanth in Coimbatore, under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
Addressing reporters outside his residence, Rajini stated that his comments were based on news reports that he had read in famous English newspapers and magazines. The actor’s PR team also shared pictures of the news clippings that the actor had mentioned.
Shortly after Rajinikanth had made the comments outside his residence, a group of 50 protestors belonging to a fringe outfit were detained and taken away by the police as they raised slogans and protested at the semmozhi poonga (public park) which is located at the heart of Chennai and is in the vicinity of Rajini’s residence.
Courtesy : DNA