Chennai/New Delhi: Even as several political leaders flayed Kamal Haasan for his ‘free India’s first extremist was a Hindu’ remarks, the Tamilnadu police yesterday filed an FIR against him.
The Makkal Needhi Maiam chief stoked controversy on 12 May at a campaign in Aravakurichi when he said, “Free India’s first extremist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it starts.”
While, Congress and rationalist outfit Dravidar Kazhagam backed him, BJP and AIADMK slammed him and several saffron organisations moved the courts in Delhi against the actor-politician and Tamilnadu minister K T Rajendira Bhalaji said Kamal’s tongue should be chopped off for his remarks. Meanwhile, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi came in support of him.
“The one who killed Mahatma Gandhi, whom we regard as Father of the Nation, what do we call him? We call him Mahatma or ‘rakshas‘ (demon)? Call him terrorist or assassin? “If not calling the person who killed Bapu as terrorist, what else will you call him?” asked Owaisi while speaking to reporters.
The FIR was filed by police in Aravakurichi in Karur district under sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with ‘outraging religious feelings’ and ‘promoting enmity between different groups’, respectively. The police also warned of stringent action against those inciting violence in the name of religion, caste, language and race.
BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay filed a PIL before the bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani of the Delhi High Court. He sought the court to direct the election commission to restrict misuse of religion for poll gains.
Upadhyay’s petition said Kamal’s comment was clearly a corrupt practice under Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1951. “As per Model Code of Conduct, no party or candidate can indulge in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic. Similarly, there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Haasan has violated the Model Code of Conduct in addition to Section 123(3) of the RPA 1951. Kamal Haasan is deliberately promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony and brotherhood,which is an offence under section 153A of IPC. It is a deliberate and malicious act, intended to outrage religious feelings of millions of Hindus, which is an offence under section 295A IPC,” claimed the petition. The plea was listed for hearing today before an appropriate bench.
Vishnu Gupta, a Hindu Sena activist, also moved the court. He sought Kamal Haasan’s prosecution for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by terming Godse as a Hindu extremist. The matter is likely to be listed before a Metropolitan Magistrate on 16 May.
Meanwhile, MNM demanded action against Tamilnadu Milk and Dairy Development Minister K T Rajendira Bhalaji for stating Kamal’s tongue must be cut off. MNM wanted the minister to be removed from his post as he had broken the promise he made when he took oath as minister.
However, Bhalaji demanded to know what violation of oath he had committed. “If he issues a statement that he had made the remarks inadvertently and that Hindus need not feel hurt due to it, I will also immediately withdraw my statement,” he told while speaking to reporters at Tuticorin.