Actor-politician Kamal Haasan, at the centre of a raging row over his Hindu extremist remarks, Friday said "every religion has its own terrorists" and no one can claim to be sanctimonious. The Makkal Needhi Maiam chief also said he was not afraid of being arrested, but warned that any such action would escalate tensions.
Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said a report has been sought from the District Election Officer (DEO) on Haasan's remarks, made at Aravakurichi in Karur. With the actor being denied permission to campaign in Sulur in Coimbatore due to the ongoing controversy, he took to Twitter to canvass votes, saying "thanks to science." Haasan said the remarks made during the Aravakurichi assembly segment by-poll campaign meet on Sunday were not for the first time, even as he asserted that "every religion has its own terrorist" and "this shows that all religions have their extremists." The actor-politician, who had filed an anticipatory bail plea after an FIR was registered in Aravakurichi in Karur district for his remarks, said he had made similar comments in Chennai during the Lok Sabha election campaign, but it was being taken note of now by those people "whose confidence is dipping." "Let me tell you, terrorists abound in all religions.
Around history, you can list many people from many religions. So I was talking in that (sense). Every religion has its own terrorists and we cannot claim that we are sanctimonious and we have not done that. History shows you that all religions have their extremists," he told reporters here, adding his focus in Sunday's campaign speech was on maintaining harmony.
Haasan was asked if he could have avoided mentioning Godse's Hindu religion. The actor-politician said he stood firm on his remarks made on Sunday.
He claimed there were no tensions after he made the remarks and alleged "tensions were created", apparently by his detractors. Asked if he had filed the anticipatory bail plea in the Madras High Court fearing arrest, he replied in the negative.
"I don't fear arrest, but I have got campaigning to do. Let them arrest, but if they arrest me tensions will escalate.
This is not my request, but advice. Better not to do that," he said. He also alleged that the media selectively edited his speech that day.
Meanwhile, Sahoo said a report has been sought from the DEO on the matter. "In Kamal Haasan's case, already FIRs have been registered and police has informed us. Political parties have also represented," he told reporters.
The matter was being investigated by the DEO and "we are waiting for the DEO report," Sahoo added. Haasan, when asked if he felt 'intimidated' by state Minister Rajendra Bhalaji saying the actor's tongue should be cut off for his remarks or incidents like stone-pelting in his public meetings, said he didn't even feel threatened.
"No, I am not even threatened. I feel that the quality of the polity is going down. I will not indulge in this mudslinging back and forth," he said. Asked what he thought about the Minister's remarks, he said: "it shows his character." When a scribe asked if he would apologise to Hindus without any party leanings for his remarks, he said one should differentiate between Hindus and the RSS.
"We should differentiate who are Hindus, who is RSS. You can't generalise. Political functionaries will get hurt any time, non-political persons with faith will only wonder for some time why he has spoken like this...things, like getting hurt, getting angry and attacking, are political tools. They are violent tools," he said. Even in the past, various groups had protested against him, "but people later realised they were not proper," he said without referring to any particular incident.
Incidentally, Haasan had faced the ire of Muslim groups who wanted his 2013 flick 'Vishwaroopam' banned after they took umbrage to the depiction in some scenes of the community in the film and had staged vociferous protests. His 'Dasavatharam' (2008) too faced release-time issues when a Vaishnavite organisation had moved the court against the very title of the film, which means the Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu, besides objecting to certain scenes.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reported statement that a Hindu cannot be a terrorist, Haasan said, "History and history teachers are there to respond to him." "Many think he is very knowledgeable. Therefore history and history professors are there to respond to him," he said. The actor further said he would always reach out to all faiths.
On police denying him permission to undertake to campaign in Sulur Assembly constituency in Coimbatore on Friday, Haasan asked if there was a problem then why can't the by-poll be postponed. "If government or police feel the situation is not conducive, fear law and order (problem), they should probably postpone Sulur by-poll," he added.
Meanwhile, he uploaded a video on his Twitter page, in an apparent retort to his being denied permission to canvass votes in Sulur on the last day of campaign schedule. "Permission was denied to me to undertake a campaign in one place (Sulur). Thanks to science, here is my campaign," he said.
In the video, he spoke of one late Kaliappan, from by-poll bound Ottapidaram in Tuticorin, saying he was killed in last year's police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters in the town. It had visuals of his meeting with the family of the deceased, with Haasan later saying those "those who instigated the violence, those who are the reason for this incident," should not be voted for, in an apparent reference to the AIADMK.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)