Director Pa Ranjith has applied for an anticipatory bail with the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court after the Tanjavur district’s Thirupanandal police booked a case against him alleging that his comment about Raja Raja Cholan incited caste enmity.
According to a report by The News Minute, he said in his plea for bail, “As chief guest at the event, I only spoke some of the truths about king Raja Raja Chozhan. How to remove casteism? How to create a casteless society? I spoke about all these, including the plight of landless people especially those from the delta regions mentioned in Umar Farooq’s Sentamizh Naatu Cherigal.”
He further said he wanted to create awareness about land rights and his speech did not intend to split people. “Our history calls Raja Raja Chozhan’s rule as a golden period. Yet several social reformers have pointed out that Raja Raja Chozhan’s reign was a dark time for the oppressed. The devadasi practice was widespread in his rule. I’ve only spoken about the information mentioned in history books. Several others too have spoken about this. Yet my speech alone is being misconstrued on social media. I did not make such comments with an ulterior motive.”
வரலாற்று தகவலின் அடிப்படையிலேயே பேசினேன்; எனது கருத்தை தவறாக சித்தரித்து சமூக வலைதளங்களில் பரப்புகின்றனர்
எனது பேச்சு எந்த சமூகத்தினருக்கும் எதிரானது அல்ல
– இயக்குநர் பா.ரஞ்சித் தரப்பில் விளக்கம் #PaRanjith
— PuthiyathalaimuraiTV (@PTTVOnlineNews) June 12, 2019
He was booked in response to a complaint filed by Bala, former Tanjavur district head of Hindi Makkal Katchi, who asked for Ranjith’s arrest citing national security. “Director Pa Ranjith has associated caste to Raja Raja Cholan’s regime, and has humiliated women. He spoke against our sovereignty. This will instigate caste enmity. We ask for his arrest and action against him,” he said.
An FIR was filed this morning under Section 153 of the IPC for wantonly giving provocation with the intent to cause riot, and 153 (A) (1) (a) for promoting enmity between different groups.
Ranjith was speaking at an event commemorating the death anniversary of Umar Farooq, founder of Neela Puligal Iyakkam party.
He spoke about land rights and urged Dalits to fight caste oppression and criticised the dravidian parties for claiming that all Tamil people were one but banking on caste votes. He further spoke about the pride associated with Raja Raja Cholan when the regime was a dark period. “Our lands from Thanjavur delta were grabbed by conspiracy under his rule. Caste practices and oppression that we follow to this day started then. The devadasi system was implemented during his period,” he said.
Following his speech, several people hit out at him with abuses and trolls and called him Hinduphobic. BJP, AIADMK and PMK members also critizised him.
However, this morning, support also started pouring in for him.
Director Lenin Bharathi responded to a tweet criticising Ranjith and said, “What Pa Ranjith spoke was not caste pride, he spoke about caste oppression and social equality. Firstly, understand the difference between a person’s caste pride and opposition to caste.”
தோழர் பா.ரஞ்சித்@beemji பேசுவது ஜாதிப் பெருமையல்ல.. ஜாதிய ஒடுக்குமுறைகளையும், சமூகம் சமநிலையில்லாமல் இருப்பதையுமே பேசுகிறார்.. ஜாதிப் பெருமிதம் பேசுவதற்கும் ஜாதிய ஒடுக்குமுறைகளைப் பேசுவதற்குமான வித்தியாசத்தை முதலில் புரிந்துகொள்ளுங்கள்…@itisprashanth https://t.co/bUZICr3Y3I
— leninbharathi (@leninbharathi1) June 11, 2019
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani shared a series of articles about issues faced by landless labourers and the exploitation of Dalits, and said, “The issues of land and sexual exploitation still haunts Dalits across the nation even today. By raising concerns over these issuse, Pa Ranjith is speaking up for the powerless and most exploited peoples of our society.”
The issues of land & sexual exploitation still haunt Dalits across the nation even today. By raising concerns over these issues, Pa Ranjith is speaking up for the powerless and most exploited peoples of our society.
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) June 12, 2019
— Dhamu@bhim ji (@Dhamu68500491) June 11, 2019
— Sethupathi.P (@Sethu759892) June 12, 2019
Yes we with pa ranjith
இங்க கேள்வி கேட்பவன் சாதி வெறியன் #StandWithPaRanjith
— @காகுத்தன் கவுதம் (@kowthamDravidan) June 12, 2019
Meanwhile, director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan said we need to identify “real problems” and work towards a common goal. In.com reports that she also called and spoke to H Raja and Ranjith asking them to settle the matter.
Humble request to @HRajaBJP @beemji Nobody can deny the oppression & discrimination, but that is not only about caste & creed! We need to identify real problem areas instead of adding to hurt, hatred & spite. It is just a matter of shedding EGOS & working towards a common goal?
— Lakshmy Ramakrishnan (@LakshmyRamki) June 11, 2019
BJP member H Raja had tweeted Ranjith’s family photograph yesterday claiming that his views were part of the Joshua project conspiring to convert Tamil people.
மாமன்னர் ராஜராஜ சோழனை இழிவாக பேசியுள்ள ப.ரஞ்சித்தின் செயல் வன்மையாகக் கண்டிக்கத் தக்கது. திக தலைவர் கி.வீரமணியை அடுத்து இன்று இவர். இவர்கள் அனைவருமே ஜோஷ்வா மதமாற்றும் திட்டத்தின் கையாட்கள். இவர்கள் அனைவரின் குறிக்கோள் தமிழகத்தை கால்டுவெல் மண்ணாக்குவதே. pic.twitter.com/EtYLNpj5ii
— H Raja (@HRajaBJP) June 9, 2019
BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan also condemned the comment.
ராஜராஜ சோழன் குறித்து இயக்குனர் ரஞ்சித் கூறிய கருத்து தவறு, அவர் பேச்சை பேச்சாகவே எடுத்துக்கொள்ள முடியாது – தமிழிசை..#TamilisaiSoundararajan | #PaRanjith @DrTamilisaiBJP | @beemji pic.twitter.com/vUGXhlcX8S
— Thanthi TV (@ThanthiTV) June 12, 2019