Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's comment that the country's first extremist was a Hindu, has prompted a controversial response from Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji who said Mr Haasan's tongue should be cut off for making the remark.
"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 State Minister for Milk and Dairy Development was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan was referring to Nathuram Godse, a hardliner who killed Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, when he made the remark.
"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 (theevravaadi) was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it starts," Kamal Haasan said in Tamil while campaigning in the town of Aravakurichi in Tamil Nadu's Karur district on Sunday night.
Mr Bhalaji, a senior AIADMK leader, also sought a ban on Kamal Haasan's party for "sowing violence".
"Why are you spewing venom. Every word (Haasan utters) is venom. Haasan''s party which is sowing violence should be banned and the Election Commission should act against him," he added.
Mr Haasan's comment has provoked sharp reactions from the BJP and its supporters.
"We strongly condemn Kamal Haasan for talking about Hindu extremism in his poll campaign. He is triggering communal violence in a place where there are a lot of minorities. The Election Commission must take stringent action against Kamal Haasan for this speech," Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan tweeted in Tamil.
Actor Vivek Oberoi, who has campaigned for the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, also attacked Mr Haasan.
"Dear Kamal sir, you are a great artist. Just like art has no religion, terror has no religion either! You can say Ghodse (Nathuram Godse) was a terrorist, why would you specify 'Hindu' ? Is it because you were in a Muslim dominated area looking for votes?" he tweeted.
The term "Hindu terror" has been at the centre of the BJP's election campaign as the party alleged that the Congress tried to defame the country by coining the term when it was in power. The BJP has fielded Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur as its candidate from Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal.
With inputs from PTI
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