Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth (Photo Credit: PTI)
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Wednesday blamed the Home Ministry for the violence that erupted in the parts of national capital. The superstar said the home ministry has failed in its duty to prevent the communal clashes in northeast Delhi. He further added that the riots should have been dealt with an iron fist. "Definitely it is the Home Ministry's intelligence failure. I strongly condemn the government," he told reporters in Chennai.
Regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) over the clashes that initially started in the national capital, Rajinikanth protests should not turn violent and recalled his earlier statement that he will stand by Muslims if they were affected by the amended citizenship law.
The CAA, passed by Parliament in December last year, seeks to expedite the process of granting citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The actor also ruled that some sections of media and political observers were linking him with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Rajinikanth had earlier threw his weight behind the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and asserted that the legislation did not pose any threat to Muslims while backing the National Population Register exercise as "very essential."
The actor's remarks did not go down well with the opposition, led by the DMK, which alleged he was echoing the views of the BJP and Sangh Parivar. The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu welcomed his stand that he would back Muslims if they were affected by the CAA, saying it was its policy too.
In his first reaction after the amendment to the Citizenship Amendment Act and nationwide protests against it, the top actor also sought to dispel misgivings about the National Register of Citizens saying the government was yet to make up its mind about it. On the CAA, the 69-year-old actor wondered as to how Muslims, who chose to stay back in India following partition will be sent out of the country.
While a chunk of the Muslim population chose Pakistan, others decided to continue to live and die in India since it was their nation of birth, the "janma bhoomi" and they have all their rights in the country, he asserted. "A scare is created as if the CAA is a threat to Muslims. How it is a threat to Muslims? CAA is no threat to Muslims, if they face trouble (due to the law), I will be the first person to raise voice for them," he told reporters.
Notably, the actor, who is expected to foray into politics has taken a stand contrary to that of his friend and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan, who has staunchly opposed the CAA. MNM is among the parties who have filed petitions against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the apex court.
Rajinikanth, who is likely to float his party ahead of the Assembly elections next year, also pointed out that the central government has said Indian people will have no problem in view of the CAA. The government has said no citizen will lose their citizenship and the law was only about bestowing citizenship on those from neighbouring countries, he pointed out.
Asked about the CAA not granting citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils in India, he said the Tamil refugees who have been here for about three decades must be given dual citizenship. “Tamil refugees who are here must be definitely given dual citizenship,” he said, echoing the ruling AIADMK’s stand.
The DMK, main opposition in Tamil Nadu, has been citing non-inclusion of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees as one of the reasons for its opposition to the CAA.
Alleging that some political parties were instigating people against the CAA for their selfish interests, he also blamed religious leaders for supporting protests against the law and dubbed it "very wrong."
Cautioning students against taking part in protests, he urged them to think, and solicit advice from their professors and elders before participating since political parties may try to "use them."
In the event of police filing FIRs against students (if they took part in protests and in case of any unlawful happenings in that connection), their future may be affected which needed to be borne in mind, he said.
Backing the National Population Register exercise, he said the drive is “very, very essential,” and added that it was very important and the Congress-led government had also done it in the past.
Asserting that the NPR process should be taken up, he asked whether it should not be ascertained who the residents of India were and who were not. On NRC, he said, "it is not implemented yet and they (the Centre) are thinking about it;its contours will be known when they come up with a draft (framework) for it."
(With Agency Inputs)