A video clip of senior DMK leader MK Stalin slapping a passenger on the Chennai Metro went viral on Thursday, sparking a torrent of condemnation from civil society and political parties over his supposed uncivil behaviour.
The clip shows the former Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister hitting a young male passenger standing nearby casually and gesturing at him to move away but a senior DMK legislator said the man was harassing female passengers sitting close by. The incident occurred on Wednesday when Stalin, accompanied by party colleagues took a metro ride.
“Just another example of how VIPs behave as if they own the place,” was how K Ramanathan, an officegoer, reacted to the visual.
Video:Stalin slaps passenger on Chennai Metro
The incident comes close on the heels of several such incidents of VIPs allegedly abusing their privilege that have triggered widespread criticism on social media and television. Hours before the clip went viral, social media went into a tizzy over Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju allegedly forcing a family to de-board from an Air India flight.
Though the DMK tried to downplay the incident, its arch rival the AIADMK was quick to pounce on the incident with chief minister J Jayalalithaa saying no elected MLA could behave in that manner. “Stalin’s behaviour doesn’t augur well as MLA,” she said.
AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswati said the small clip was enough to show what Stalin has done, which he ought not to do. If he was behaving in such a manner then he should not have used the public transport, Saraswati said.
Stalin’s office issued a statement saying that “Stalin gestured a man to move from women passengers. He inadvertently touched him due to train jolt.”
The embattled DMK treasurer received support from the Congress, with party spokesperson Khushboo describing it as a mere flick of the hand.
“Stalin was only trying to protect women. I have worked closely with him and he is a man of honour,” the former actress said.