The director made the comments at a meeting organised by the Blue Panthers Party at Thirupananthal on the death anniversary of party founder Umar Farooq.
The NewsMinute reported that Ranjith talked about why he did not want to claim ownership of Raja Raja Chozhan, even as several caste groups in Tamil Nadu fought to claim him as their own, because the king’s rule had been a dark period for his community (Dalits).
“Lands from the Thanjavur Delta regions that belonged to us were grabbed during his rule by conspiracy. Caste oppression was started during his rule, 400 women were turned into sex workers to work in ‘Mangala Vilas’ during his rule. The devadasi system was implemented during his rule. Around 26 people were sold to the Kolar Gold Field during his rule. So caste discrimination had begun from back then, it isn’t a new problem,” he said, TNM quoted.
The director has been booked under IPC sections dealing with charges of wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, The Hindu said.
While BJP national secretary H Raja criticised the director’s remarks, many others have tweeted in support of Ranjith.
Merkku Thodarchi Malai director Lenin Bharathi said Ranjith had talked about caste oppression and social equality, not caste pride.
Ranjith, who directed Rajinikanth in his films Kabali and Kaala, is known for political themes in his work and for activism through his music group, Casteless Collective, and the Vaanam Arts Festival.
He was viciously trolled on Twitter after videos of his speech went viral earlier this week.