Rajini Loses Cool Over Stand on Tuticorin Clashes, Issues Apology
On 30 May 2018, Rajinikanth visited people who were injured in the anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin and promised to donate Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those who were killed and Rs 10,000 for the injured.
This was the first time Rajini, since announcing his political entry in December 2017, had gone beyond the podium and Twitter to reach out and meet the people of Tamil Nadu.
What was a memorable day for many – a superstar offering them hugs and handshakes – turned upside-down pretty soon.
When Rajinikanth reached the Chennai airport, reporters asked him to explain his statement that “anti-social elements” were responsible for the clashes. Hearing this, Rajini completely lost his cool and said, “Don't ask me how I know, I know all of that.”
During the Jallikattu protest, a few anti-social elements infiltrated and created a riot, the same thing has happened here. These anti-social elements were the ones who attacked the police, destroyed property at Collectorate and set fire to the Sterlite housing quarters. The violence began only after these anti-social elements attacked the police.Rajinikanth
Rajini further said, “If there are going to be protests for every issue, Tamil Nadu will turn into a graveyard.” However, in a statement on 31 May, the superstar issued an apology for the outburst directed at the reporters in Chennai, stating that he didn’t intend to hurt anyone.
Earlier in Tuticorin, Rajini has blamed “anti-social elements” who “intruded” for the violence during anti-Sterlite protests.
Usually, Rajini is quite diplomatic when he conveys his views on politics, but this time he was quite head-on in calling out the inefficiency of the state government.
He also added that violence was inflicted on protesters because of “negligence of intelligence”. “This should never happen in the future,” he added.
However, Rajini’s stance of holding anti-social elements responsible for the violence is similar to that of the government's. This rationale has not gone down well with people in Tuticorin, where people are still hurt and believe that it was the police who attacked protesters, torched vehicles and opened fire killing and injuring many.
Rajamma, a resident of Tuticorin whose husband survived a bullet wound, said she was deeply shocked by the actor’s statements. “We were very happy that he came to see us and even spoke up for us. But now it seems like he is blaming us for causing arson. We are deeply hurt,” she said.
Another resident Ronald, too echoed her sentiments saying, “Count the number of policemen who have been killed and the number of protesters. Doesn’t that itself prove that we just wanted to protest peacefully and the police were at fault?”
DMK Working President MK Stalin said he believed Rajinikanth could be resonating the opinion of the BJP and AIADMK.
The superstar says he knows about these ‘terrorists’. It will be good for the state and country if he tells who these people are. We can’t achieve anything without protesting. Whether it is for freedom or Jallikattu or anything for that matter, only by protesting have we managed to solve a lot of problems.MK Stalin, DMK Working President
Since this morning, police force has been deployed outside the actor’s residence in Poes Garden.
Pa Ranjith, the director of his upcoming movie Kaala, spoke out in support of Rajinikanth.
“Rajinikanth didn't say we shouldn't protest at all. When violence like this breaks out during a protest, there is a lot of pain. But yes, only if you stand up and protest can we get all that we deserve.” he said.
Even as the star had visited the Thoothukudi General Hospital, one young man had some sharp words for Rajinikanth.
In a video that has now gone viral, the injured man, identified as Santhosh, is seen getting up from bed as Rajinikanth approaches him. He asks the star, “Who are you?” To this, Rajinikanth replies, “It’s me, Rajinikanth.”
Explaining why asked this to Rajinikanth, Santhosh reportedly said, “We have been protesting in Thoothukudi for 100 days. In all those days, actor Rajinikanth did not come to meet us or express his support for us. Several people died during the shooting that took place at the protest. Several are still in a critical stage. It's been eight days since this happened. For so many days, Rajinikanth did not open his mouth about the incident,” The News Minute reported.
He (Rajini) did not come and meet those who were affected. Why did he come today? That too, he has come after the Sterlite plant was sealed. He perhaps wouldn’t have come if the Sterlite plant had not been closed. There’s a big reason behind why he has come. In a few days, Kaala will release. He knows very well that if he still doesn’t go and meet the people, the film will not run in Tamil Nadu. That’s why he has come to meet us in Thoothukudi and say he will donate money. That’s why I got angry and I asked him that question. Just as we knew how to fight and win, we also know how to protect ourselves.