Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan came under fire from the BJP on Monday after his comment that the first terrorist in free India was a Hindu referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. Kamal made this statement while campaigning at Aravakkurichi in a minority dominated area.
Tamil Nadu state BJP President Tamilisai Sounderrajan and other leaders condemned Haasan for associating a community with the assassin of Gandhi.
Haasan who heads the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), made the comment Sunday night while he was campaigning for his party’s candidate S Mohanraj for Aravakkurichi assembly by-poll. “I am one of the proud Indians who want an India with equality where the three colours in the Tricolour flag should remain intact,” he said in an obvious reference to different faiths.
Watch: Kamal Haasan says India's 'first terrorist was Hindu' pic.twitter.com/PFxXHUYYqY— DNA (@dna) May 13, 2019
He claimed that he was visiting Aravakkurichias “as a great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi”.
“I am not saying this here (Aravakkurichi) as Muslims are high in numbers. But, I am saying this before the statue of Mahatma Gandhiji. In fact, Independent India’s first terrorist was a Hindu whose name is Nathuram Ghodse. I have come here to get an answer for Gandhiji’s murder,” Haasan said while campaigning.
The BJP on Monday moved the Election Commission seeking a 5-day ban on renowned actor and MNM President Kamal Haasan for describing Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, as the first Hindu terrorist in independent India.
The complaint has been filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, saying the statement was intended to outrage religious feelings of millions of Hindus.
Haasan was speaking at an election rally for his party candidate in Aravakurichi Assembly constituency where by-elections will be held on May 19.
Establishing the comment as a corrupt practice, the complaint said: "It is necessary to state that the statement was made deliberately in the presence of a Muslim majority crowd for electoral gain, which is clearly a corrupt practice under Section 123 (3) the Representation of the People Act 1951."
Terrorism has NO religion but Kamal Hasan says-India’s 1st terrorist was a Hindu— Major Surendra Poonia (@MajorPoonia) May 13, 2019
Mr @ikamalhaasan Will U tell us religion of those who
killed Kashmiri Pandits
Carried Mumbai Blasts
killed Sikhs in 84
Carried parliament attack & Urban Naxals like You?
Why r U demeaning Hinduism ? pic.twitter.com/48aMFca3n8
Upadhyay said the speech at a political rally has also breached the Model Code of Conduct as no one can appeal to caste or communal feelings to secure votes.
The complaint claimed that the statement was a deliberate and malicious act, and prejudiced the maintenance of "harmony and brotherhooda between communities, which is punishable under Section 153A of the IPC".
Dear Sir, @ikamalhaasan, India's first terrorist was Jinnah.Who had devided the nation for muslims. Millions were killed!!— Koena Mitra (@koenamitra) May 13, 2019
Btw, please know the difference between a Murderer and a Terrorist. #Isis #Alqaeda #Afzalguru #kasab=Terrorists #Godse= Murderer https://t.co/CSqjQBfQSx
The compliant urged the poll panel to invoke Article 324 of the Constitution and "restrict Haasan from campaigning for at least five days, lodge a FIR against him under respective sections of IPC and take steps to de-register his political party".
According to media reports, Kamal Haasan clarified that his statement did not focus on the dominant Muslim electorate in the constituency.
26/11: Terror has no religion. 9/11: Terror has no religion. Sri Lanaka Church attack: Terror has no religion. Actor/Neta Kamal Hasan (in a minority dominated area seeking votes): In independent India first terrorist was a HINDU (Where are the terror has no religion wallahs now?)— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) May 13, 2019
"I am not saying this because many Muslims are here. I'm saying this in front of Gandhi's statue. The first terrorist post India's independence is a Hindu. His name is Nathuram Godse."
Bollywood actor Vivek Anand Oberoi who played the lead role in the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi also questioned Kamal Haasan’s stance.
“Dear Kamal sir, you are a great artist. Just like art has no religion, terror has no religion either! You can say Ghodse was a terrorist, why would you specify Hindu? Is it because you were in a Muslim dominated area looking for votes? Please sir, from a much smaller artist to a great one, let’s not divide this country, we are one,” Oberoi tweeted.
Earlier too, Haasan had stoked a row, when in November 2017, he took potshots at what he termed as “Hindu extremism,” which drew condemnation from the BJP and Hindu outfits.
This is what Sri @ikamalhaasan wrote about #Srilanka Islamist Terror attack— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) May 13, 2019
Kamal sir writes in an elite academic, intellectual language only Tharoor ji understands :-)
No mention of word #Islamist Terror. But coming to Godse, he calls him "Hindu Terrorist"
Double standards? pic.twitter.com/DPM9sATMrb