Actor Rajini Kanth on Tuesday refused to express regret or apologise for his comment that idols of Rama and Sita were desecrated at a rally taken out by rationalist leader and Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar E V Ramasamy in Salem way back in January 1971.
Top leaders of various factions of the DK have protested against the charge made by Rajini at a function to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tughlak magazine in Chennai that the idols were stripped of clothes and taken in a parade and copies of the Tughlak which carried the report were seized by the then Karunanidhi Government.
Dravidar Viduthalai Katchi functionary Nehrudas has said it is an atrocious lie which was denied by Periyar himself at that time. He has lodged a complaint with the Coimbatore police commissioner to take action against Rajini on the charge that he was promoting enmity between communities. He has threatened to hold demonstations outside theatres screening Rajini films.
Security has been strengthened outside his Poes Garden residence following the threat by the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam to hold a demonstration.
Meeting reporters outside his residence, Rajini said he stands by his charge which he said was based on a report published by Outlook magazine in 2017. Further it has been attested by Tamil Nadu BJP functionary K N Lakshman, who was with the Jana Sangh then was witness to that 1970 rally .
Lakshman said the copies of Tughlak which published that report were seized by the Karunanidhi Government and so Rajini had relied on Outlook magazine report. National BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is against Tamil film culture, said ”I support Rajini on this issue and I am ready to defend him in court” if DK outfits file cases.
Dravidar Kazhgam leader K Veeramani said Rajini was firing on Periyar from the shoulders of Outlook magazine, and not Tughlak.
Narrating what happened at the rally at Salem, Veeramani said the idols were in a rear van while Periyar was going ahead of it. The Jan Sangh staged a protest against the rally and threw chapels. One such chappal landed on the van which was carrying these idols.
He said copies of the Viduthalai issue were still available and Periyar himself had described as “atrocious lies” reports that the idols were garlanded with chappals.
Suba Veerapandian, leader of faction called Dravida Tamil Iyakka Peravai , said Rajini had solely relied on what had been fed into him by Tughlak editor and RSS activist S Gurumurthi. He said:”Rajini is entitled to his views. But he cannot distort history in the name of free speech”.