Amidst the chaos and staunch criticism levelled against Tamil superstar Rajinikanth by activists of Athi Tamizhar Peravai (ATP) as well as Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK) on Monday, January 20, Rajya Sabha MP and former Union Cabinet Minister Subramanian Swamy came out in support of the actor.
In light of the ballooning tussle between Rajinikanth members of the two organisations, Subramanian Swamy backed the actor and said EVR in his 1971 rally made derogatory remarks against Ram and Sita. Calling it a 'fact' he mentioned late actor and author Cho Ramaswamy published the content in his Thuglak magazine.
For a change I am on the side of Rajnikant on the E. V. R. Naicker 1971 rally issue of parading Ram and Sita in a derogatory. This is a fact and Cho had published it in Thuglak. If the cine actor stays firm I will back him in courts if he wants— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) January 21, 2020
The statement which caused the uproar was in reference to his address at the 50th anniversary-cum-readers' connect event of Tamil Nadu Thuglak on January 14 in Chennai, where the actor said,
'In 1971, at Salem, Periyar took out a rally in which undressed images of Lord Sri Ramachandramoorthy and Sita - with a garland of sandal-featured, and no news outlet published it'.
Activists from the two organisations resorted to destructive means on Monday as they burned the veteran actor's effigy, reportedly for his remarks on social reformer EV Ramasamy also fondly known as 'Periyar'.
The actor was later asked to tender an 'unconditional apology' as well after they filed police complaints against him on January 17, seeking action against him.
DVK claimed what Rajinikanth said was 'a blatant lie and that images of Lord Ram and Sita "in the nude" were not released by Periyar in the rally, which was a part of a superstition eradication conference at Salem'.
In a veiled attack, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo MK Stalin commented on the incident and stated, 'Friend Rajinikanth should think well before he speaks about Periyar. He is an actor and not a politician.'
Ahead of a massive protest planned by several pro-Periyar groups across Tamil Nadu, who have vociferously demanded apologies from Rajinikanth, the actor refused to backtrack and has simply stated 'I will not apologise'.
'There is a lot of debate on an issue I spoke on- about an incident that happened in 1971. I did not make up what I said and I did not imagine it.' Holding out news clippings from the magazine, he said, 'I have magazines here to show what I said was true. I am telling what I saw, what has been printed on paper, I will not apologise for that.'
With Rajinikanth refusing to back down and a slew of protests organised by regional parties, the row is likely to intensify in the days to come.