Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam today said Mr Haasan's "first extremist in independent India was a Hindu" remark, which has stirred a controversy, has "been taken absolutely out of context with a malafide intent".
In a statement issued by the party, R Mahendran, Vice President, MNM, said that Kamal Haasan, while campaigning in Tamil Nadu's Aravakurichi assembly constituency on Sunday, was "calling for religious tolerance and co-existence amongst all religious groups and condemned extremism in whichever form and religions."
"This (his remark) has been taken absolutely out of context and the speech has been painted as anti -Hindu, with a malafide intent. This has created complete confusion and utmost anxiety amongst many common citizens who are not privy to this larger conspiracy."
The party, which has made a debut in the national elections this year, also said that should media should play the entire speech so that it is understood in the entire context.
Kamal Haasan stroked a controversy after he made a remark on Sunday on Nathuram Godse who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1947.
"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Independent India's first extremist (theeviravaadi) was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it starts," he said in Aravakurichi. Aravakurichi is one of the four assembly constituencies where bypolls are scheduled on May 19. Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) has fielded a candidate from that seat.
The BJP was quick to hit back and said the 64-year-old actor-politician was "triggering communal violence in a place where there are a lot of minorities".
Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji stirred sharp reactions from MNM when he said: "His tongue should be cut off..he has said (free India's first extremist) was a Hindu. Extremism has no religion, neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian." The MNM demanded that he should be sacked for such a comment.
A police complaint has been filed against the MNM chief in Aravakurichi in Karur district filed the FIR under sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code,which deal with ''outraging religious feelings'' and ''promoting enmity between different groups".
Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019