Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan on Sunday triggered a controversy with his remarks that Independent India’s first “terrorist was a Hindu”, referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. Addressing a rally in Tamil Nadu’s Aravakurichi, a Muslim dominated area, the actor-turned-politician said that terrorism in India started with the killing of Gandhi.
“I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, 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 (terrorism, apparently) starts,” Haasan said.
He said that he was one of those “proud Indians” who desires an India with equality and where the “three colours” in the national flag, a reference to different faiths, “remained intact.”
"Good Indians desire for equality and want the three colours in the tricolour to remain intact. I am a good Indian, will proudly proclaim that," he said.
Mahatma Gandhi was killed by right-wing extremist Nathuram Godse in 1948. Haasan said that he had come here to seek “answers for that murder”.
Reacting to the MNM chief's remarks, the Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said that he was "lighting a dangerous fire" to gain votes by minority appeasement.
“Actor Kamala Haasan recalling Gandhi’s assassination now and calling it Hindu terrorism is condemnable. Standing amidst minorities in TN by-election campaign he is lighting a dangerous fire to gain votes by minority appeasement. kamal didn’t opine on recent Sri Lanka bomb blast why? (sic),” Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan tweeted.
“But dares to take up decades old event which was well enquired & guilty punished? He threatened to leave india when his film screening was prevented by religious groups!but now he calls himself true indian! True political acting started now having lost the chances in screenplay. (sic),” she added.
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. Aravakurichi is one of the four Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu where bypolls are scheduled on May 19. MNM has fielded S Mohanraj from the constituency.