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Kamal Haasan not to return Padmasri

Chennai: He had earlier refused the invitation to participate in the upcoming IIFA extravaganza as a mark of protest against the alleged mistreatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka, but film icon Kamal Haasan said that he will not return the Padmasri award.

Responding to a demand made by a fringe pro-Sri Lankan Tamil group, `Mayseventeen Movement` which also demanded his resignation as Chairman of FICCI Media Entertainment Business Conclave, Haasan said nothing could be achieved by returning the top civilian award.

The members held banners outside his residence today, demanding that he return the Padmasri.

"Top office-bearers of FICCI, including its President have acceded to my request to not attend the IIFA event (being held in Colombo this year). They have also told me that they would not attend the Business forum (scheduled as part of the three day IIFA)," he said in a statement here hours after members of the movement submitted a request to him.

He,however, said it was not in the hands of "small bodies" like FICCI to prevent corporates from carrying out business.

He had asked FICCI not to participate in IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) event "driven by my own feelings," but saw no reason for returning the award.

"I don`t see that we can achieve anything by returning the honour bestowed upon me by my country," he said.

Saying he had never participated in the IIFA event, Kamal Haasan said he "saw no justification to participate" this time in Colombo.

Pro-Tamil groups in the state have been opposing the event to be held from June 3-5 at Colombo and asked actors from Bollywood to boycott the event. The Global Business Forum, organised by Industry body FICCI, is also scheduled to be held there at that time.

In its letter to Kamal Haasan, Mayseventeen Movement said global concerns had been expressed on alleged human rights violations and killing of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka at the height of the war between its army and LTTE.

It was not proper for FICCI to explore business opportunities in the island nation when other countries had "backed out", said the letter.

The letter said Kamal Haasan`s resignation from FICCI would "set the right precedent" in the interest of the Sri Lankan Tamil community. It also urged him to pressure FICCI to change the Global Business Forum from Sri Lanka.

PTI

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