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Haasan stokes a controversy with ‘Hindu terrorist’ remark

Kamal, who heads the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), made the statement while campaigning at Aravakkurichi in a minority dominated area.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 13, 2019 21:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
kamal hassan,makkal needhi maiam,Aravakkurichi
Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Hassan stoked a controversy by calling Naturam Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, the first terrorist in free India.(PTI)

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Sunday night said that the first terrorist in free India was a Hindu in a reference to Nathuram Ghodse who shot dead Mahatma Gandhi. His remark was condemned by BJP leaders.

Kamal, who heads the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), made the statement while campaigning at Aravakkurichi in a minority dominated area.

The MNM chief’s statement was condemned by Tamil Nadu state BJP President Tamilisai Sounderrajan and other leaders for associating a community with Gandhi’s assassin.

He BJP moved the Election Commission seeking a five-day ban on the renowned actor.

“I am one of the proud Indians who wants an India with equality where the three colours in the Tricolour flag should remain intact,” said Kamal while campaigning in support of MNM candidate S Mohanraj for Aravakkurichi assembly by-poll.

“I am not saying this here (Aravakkurichi) as Muslims are high in numbers. But, I am saying this before the statue of Mahatma Gandhiji. In fact, independent India’s first terrorist was a Hindu who is Nathuram Ghodse. I have come here to get an answer for Gandhiji’s murder,” Kamal said .

Reacting to actor Kamal Haasan’s statement, Tamil Nadu minister Rajendra Balaji said that the actor was intentionally hurting the majority community to get minority votes.

“His tongue should be chopped for his controversial remarks. The election commission should ban Kamal’s MNM party and EC should not allow Kamal to campaign further. He is spewing venom in the name of speech,” said Rajendra Balaji.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state chief Tamilisai Sounderrarajan said that the MNM leader has no right to label an entire community. “Actor Kamal Haasan recalling Gandhi’s assassination now and calling it Hindu terrorism is condemnable. Standing amidst minorities in TN by-election campaign he is lighting a dangerous fire to gain votes by minority appeasement,” Tamilisai said in a tweet.

BJP national secretary H Raja said Kamal Haasan could hurt Hindus to gain Muslim votes.

Bollywood actor Vivek Anand Oberoi questioned Kamal’s stance on twitter. “Dear Kamal sir, you are a great artist. Just like art has no religion, terror has no religion either! You can say Godse was a terrorist, why would you specify Hindu? Is it because you were in a Muslim dominated area looking for votes? Please sir, from a much smaller artist to a great one, let’s not divide this country, we are one,” Oberoi tweeted.

However, MNM leader R Rengarajan defended Kamal’s stance, saying the actor has voiced support for the father of the nation. “The matter should not be sensationalized,” Rengarajan told the media.

The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief KS Alagiri welcomed Kamal Haasan’s statement. “As for how ISIS is for Islam, RSS is for Hinduism. So, I support the contention of Kamal,” Alagiri told the media.

Aswini Kumar Upadhyaya, a BJP advocate has submitted a petition to the EC seeking to de-register MNM party.

“Kamal has violated election model code of conduct. His speech may incite violence. So, the EC should ban him from campaigning for at least five days. His party should be de-registered,” Aswini Kumar told the media in New Delhi.

Tamil Nadu went to the polls for 38 Lok Sabha seats and 18 assembly by-polls on April 18. Four assembly by-polls will be held on May 19 along with the last phase of national elections.

First Published: May 13, 2019 21:59 IST

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