Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiyam founder Kamal Haasan on Monday stirred a controversy when he said free India’s first “extremist was a Hindu” ― Nathuram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reacted to his statement by accusing him of indulging in “divisive politics”.
Addressing an election campaign in Aravakurichi on Sunday night, Haasan 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 extremist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (extremism, apparently) starts,” he said.
Haasan said he was a “self-assumed great-grandson” of Gandhi and that he had come here “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.
BJP has moved the Election Commission against Haasan and sought a five day ban on him.
Condemning the remark, BJP state President Tamilisai Soundararajan said, “Though he talks of taking forward a new kind of politics, he also indulged in the old, mischievous, poisonous and divisive vote bank politics.”
She said his remarks amounted to inciting “communal violence”.
Actor Vivek Oberoi also slammed Haasan’s remarks, saying both art and terror “have no religion”. Oberoi is a star campaigner for the BJP and is the lead of the biopic PM Narendra Modi.
Aravakurichi is one of the four Assembly constituencies where bypolls are scheduled on May 19. MNM has fielded S Mohanraj from this segment.
(With PTI inputs)