Actor-politician Kamal Haasan is facing a storm of protests for referring to Nathuram Godse as the first Hindu terrorist in independent India. The BJP has moved the election commission for a 5-day ban on his party Makkal Needhi Maiam. The AIADMK and its allies condemned him saying he was being divisive to gain votes. While actor-politician Rajinikanth refused to respond, other celebrities like Vivek Oberoi, Gayatri Raghuram and Kasturi Shankar tweeted about it.
Kamal Haasan was speaking at an election rally for MNM in Aravakurichi assembly constituency where by-elections will be held on May 19. In a long talk, he spoke about the violence caused by Babri Masjid destruction, BJP’s communalism and its ignorance for Tamil people’s basic amenities including water, health and education. He further said that he has faced a lot of uproar for pointing things out, and for stressing that terrorism and extremism was everywhere. “I’m not saying this now because I am in a Muslim dominated area. I’m saying this in fornt of Gandhi’s statue. The first terrorist of independent India was a Hindu. His name was Nathuram Godse. I’m here to question this killing as a secular person.”
#KamalHaasan on the #MNM election campaign trail : "The first extremist in modern India was a Hindu. His name – #NathuramGodse. I am not saying this here just because this area is dominated by Muslims. I say this before Mahatma Gandhi's statue." pic.twitter.com/wkfHtQj4eN
— Filter Kaapi (@FilterKaapiLive) May 12, 2019
BJP minister Ashwini Upadhyay has moved the election commission for a 5-day ban on Makkal Needhi Maiam, saying Kamal’s comments were intended to hurt Hindu feelings. According to a report by TNM, her complaint said the speech breached the Model Code of Conduct as no one can appeal to caste or communal feelings to secure votes. “The statement was made deliberately in the presence of a Muslim majority crowd for electoral gain, which is clearly a corrupt practice under Section 123 (3) the Representation of the People Act 1951.”
The comment also did not go well with AIADMK members and its allies. BJP National Secretary H Raja and BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan criticised him. Tamilisai said that Kamal was “lighting a dangerous fire” for votes, AIADMK member KT Rajenthra Bhalaji, the state’s minister for Milk and Diary Development, said that Kamal’s tongue should be cut for the extremist comment.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) May 13, 2019
Tamil actor and member of BJP Gayathri Raghuram asked Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palanisamy to take action against Kamal, and also Dravida Kazhagam leader Veermani and DMK leaders Stalin and Kanimozhi for comments against Hindus.
I request @CMOTamilNadu to take strict action on spreading religious hate. On kamal Veeramani Stalin kanimozhi and other clan who spread Hindu hate or any religious hate. If JJ Amma was alive she would have done that. There wouldn’t be comment or sound. I request u to do same.
— Gayathri Raguramm (@gayathriraguram) May 13, 2019
She however took a dig at Tamilisai, with whom she has had tiffs in the past, for her personal attack on Kamal and said he was way better than her.
I know him personally and I know tamilisai personally. He is way better than tamilisai in many ways no comparison. So don’t attack personally. #tamilisai.
— Gayathri Raguramm (@gayathriraguram) May 14, 2019
Actor Vivek Oberoi, the star of the soon-to-release PM Narendra Modi biopic, also tweeted asking if Kamal was doing such a campaign to seek votes in a Muslim dominated area.
Dear Kamal sir, you are a great artist. Just like art has no religion, terror has no religion either! You can say Ghodse was a terrorist, why would you specify ‘Hindu’ ? Is it because you were in a Muslim dominated area looking for votes? @ikamalhaasan https://t.co/Hu3zxJjYNb
— Vivek Anand Oberoi (@vivekoberoi) May 13, 2019
Actress Kasturi Shankar first condemned his comment and then said she had fallen to media’s sensationalism and that his statement was blown out of proportion.
1/2 I am a big supporter of Mr #KamalHaasan in many of his ideas. I am not however a fan of his playing to the galleries. In a nation full of divisive politics, His positive politicking was a breath of fresh air. Very sad that he too has stooped to selective namecalling .
— Kasturi Shankar (@KasthuriShankar) May 13, 2019
Yes, The Hindu terror remark was factually wrong. But after watching the full speech, I feel kamal did not bring it up to rustle up religious sentiments but more to emphasise a secular philosophy. He needs to drop the political correctness a bit. Secular shouldnt be appeasement.
— Kasturi Shankar (@KasthuriShankar) May 13, 2019
Meanwhile, the uproar has led the actor-politician to cancel his election campaign in Thoothukudi today. The election commission is yet to respond to the BJP’s complaint.
ஒட்டப்பிடாரத்தில் மக்கள் நீதி மய்யம் தலைவர் கமல்ஹாசன் இன்று மேற்கொள்ளவிருந்த பிரசாரம் ரத்து
சுதந்திர இந்தியாவின் முதல் தீவிரவாதி ஒரு இந்து என பேசியதற்கு எதிர்ப்பு எழுந்த நிலையில் பிரசாரம் ரத்து #KamalHaasan
— PuthiyathalaimuraiTV (@PTTVOnlineNews) May 14, 2019