Superstar Rajinikanth has slammed the central government for the Delhi violence in which 27 people have lost their lives. The actor said the clashes are the result of the centre's "intelligence failure". On his recent remark in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act, he said he is not the BJP's "mouthpiece".
"Definitely it is the central government's intelligence failure. I strongly condemn the central government," he told reporters in Chennai.
"Protests ought to have been contained with iron hand. Intelligence agencies didn't do their job. Intelligence failure means it is the failure of the Home Ministry," he added.
Over 200 people were injured in the northeast Delhi violence, which started as a clash between people for and against the citizenship law four days ago. Armed mobs torched vehicles, houses, shops, and attacked people.
Rajinikanth had earlier said the Citizenship law, which had triggered nationwide protests, was not a threat to Muslims. He had also said that if the community faces any trouble because of the law, he would be the first person to raise his voice against it. The actor on Wednesday reiterated his remark.
"I will stand for anyone who would be affected by CAA," he said today (Wednesday).
"I am pained being portrayed as BJP's mouthpiece. I only speak the truth," he added.
Rajinikanth, however, refrained from taking on the BJP leaders accused of triggering the violence with their hate speech.
"Exceptions can't be portrayed as the norm. I appeal to the media to be just and to not provoke," he said.
He also said it is unlikely that the law will be repealed. "The centre has clarified about the NRC (National Register of Citizens). Protests shouldn't be violent," he added.
Last year, the centre had clarified that it would not take away citizenship of Indian Muslims. It had also said there was no plan to implement nationwide NRC.
Rajinikanth, whose political debut has been anticipated for some time and is expected before the Tamil Nadu election next year, had condemned the violence in December.
The Delhi Police, which report to the centre, have come under criticism for not being able to contain the violence. There have been allegations of police complicity in the clashes. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said action would be taken against policemen if they are found to be helping the rioters.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at the centre, saying the violence was the result of a conspiracy while demanding Home Minister Amit Shah's resignation.