Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan triggered a massive controversy on Sunday night, telling the crowd at his rally that free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, in reference to Mahatma Gandhi's assailant Nathuram Godse.
The actor-turned-politician was addressing a rally at Aravakurichi - one of the four assembly constituencies in the state where bypolls are scheduled to be held on May 19 concurrently with the seventh and final stage of voting in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Making open references to various religions, Kamal Haasan put forth that he was among the 'proud Indians' who desire a nation that espouses equality and where the 'three colours' of the Tricolour remain intact.
"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area," Haasan prefaced his remarks, adding, "but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it began.".
"I'll thump my heart and say that I'm a good Indian and any good Indian will want the country to be peaceful and equal for all. They will always want the three colours of the national flag to remain the same as ever," he elaborated.
This isn't the first time that Haasan has spoken about this specific matter. In 2017 he had made remarks about 'Hindu extremism' which were met by outrage from the BJP and various Hindu outfits. On this occasion as well, Kamal Haasan has been met with opposition.
Rajya Sabha MP Prof Rakesh Sinha has tweeted on the MNM chief's remarks, accusing him of targeting his remarks in order to win votes. He has sought an apology:
Sulur, Aravakurichi, Thirupprankundram and Ottapidaram are the four Tamil Nadu assembly seats where by-polls will be held on May 19. Eighteen other bypolls have already been held on April 18, with the results which will be key to determining the fate of the EPS-led AIADMK government in the state to be declared on May 23 along with the general election results. The AIADMK has 113 out of the 235 seats in the assembly (one is a nominated seat) while the DMK has 88. The Congress has eight and there are two independents along with the 22 vacant seats.