Actor-politician Rajinikanth on Tuesday (January 21) asserted that he will not apologise for his comments on iconic social reformer E V Ramasamy Periyar, over which a police complaint has been filed by members of a Dravidian outfit named Dravidar Viduthulai Kazhagam (DVK).
Periyar's influence looms large over Tamil Nadu's politics as both dominant parties the DMK and AIADMK have followed the path of the Dravidian leader. However, nine if the major political parties have reacted to Rajini's statement and it's only the Periyarist fringe groups that have demanded an apology.
During the 50th anniversary event of the weekly magazine Thuglak, Rajini had lauded the magazine's founder Late Cho Ramaswamy for having carried a cover story of a 1971 rally in Salem, that was led by Periyar himself.
Rajini stated that Thuglak was the only magazine to carry the story on the incident where pictures of Lord Ram were garlanded with slippers and paraded. He said the Tamil magazine was the only one to cover this event, adding that the founder Cho Ramaswamy had condemned this. “This brought a bad name to the ruling DMK who did not want the magazine to be circulated,” Rajinikanth said. “The issue was seized by the government but Cho reprinted it and the magazine was sold in black. What was sold for Rs 10, was then sold for Rs 50 and Rs 60.”
Member of the fringe groups also filed a complaint in Coimbatore, under Indian Penal Code sections 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
Addressing reporters outside his residence, Rajini stated that his comments were based on news reports that he read in English newspapers and magazines. Rajini's PR team also shared pictures of the news clippings that the actor had mentioned.
Shortly after Rajini had made the comments outside his residence, a group of 50 protestors belonging to a fringe outfit were detained and taken away by police as they raised slogans and protested at the semmozhi poonga,(a public park) which is located at the heart of Chennai city and is in the vicinity of Rajini's residence.