Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan invited the ire of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, 13 May, for saying that India's first "terrorist was a Hindu”, referring to Nathuram Godse – who killed Mahatma Gandhi.
Addressing an election campaign Tamil Nadu’s Aravakurichi on Sunday night, the actor-turned-politician said he was one of those "proud Indians" who desires an India with equality and where the "three colours" in the tricolour, an obvious reference to different faiths, "remained intact."
"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (terrorism, apparently) starts," he said, as per PTI.
Haasan said he had come to Aravakurichi "seeking answers for that murder," referring to Gandhi's assassination in 1948.
“Good Indians desire for equality and want the three colours in the tricolour to remain intact. I am a good Indian, will proudly proclaim that,” he added.
Earlier too, Haasan had slammed what he termed as "Hindu extremism”, which had drawn condemnation from the BJP and Hindu outfits.
Aravakurichi is one of the four Assembly constituencies where bypolls are scheduled on 19 May. MNM has fielded S Mohanraj from this segment.
BJP Moves EC Against Haasan
The BJP, meanwhile, has moved the Election Commission of India (EC) against Haasan over his remarks, reports suggest. The ruling dispensation alleges that Haasan is ‘attempting to polarise voters ahead of the 19 May bypoll’.
"The party has sought a five-day campaigning ban on Haasan for making the comment, PTI reported.
"The intention of Kamal Haasan is to create religious unrest in society and create communal tension in the Constituency and all over the state,” the BJP legal cell said in its complaint with state Chief Electoral Officer Satybarata Sahoo.
"This is gross violation of the code of conduct prescribed by the Election Commission," the complaint said, demandng "stringent action" against Haasan.
‘His Tongue Should be Cut Off’
Haasan's tongue should be cut off for saying that free India's "first extremist was a Hindu", Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji said on Monday.
Bhalaji, a senior AIADMK leader, also sought a ban on MNM for "sowing violence" and demanded that the Election Commission of India act against Haasan.
"His tongue should be cut of..he has said (free India's first extremist) was a Hindu. Extremism has no religion, neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian," the State Minister for Milk and Dairy Development told reporters and accused Haasan of "acting" to garner minority votes.
“He is acting and making such remarks to garner minority votes...,” he said, as per PTI.
Bhalaji, known for his outspoken remarks on various issues, charged the actor-politician with "spewing venom," and accused the latter of making such comments to "satisfy someone."
"Why are you spewing venom. Every word (Haasan utters) is venom. Haasan's party which is sowing violence should be bannned and the Election Commission should act against him," he said.
(With inputs from PTI, News18)