Tamil Nadu's opposition DMK has advised actor-politician Rajinikanth to rethink his comment on Tamil icon Periyar Ramasamy, which has generated huge controversy. Rajinikanth has refused to apologise for his comment, which has been seen by many as denigrating the 19th Century social activist, who is considered the father of the "Dravidian movement".
"My friend Rajinikanth is not a politician, he is an actor. Please think and speak about Periyar. I appeal to you," MK Stalin said on Tuesday. "Periyar lived for 95 years, working for the Tamil race".
At the 50th anniversary event of Tamil magazine "Tughlak", Rajinikanth praised its founder-editor Cho Ramasamy, saying he had carried a news item on Periyar and criticised him when no publication of the day had dared to do so.
"In 1971, at Salem, Periyar took out a rally against superstition in which naked images of Lord Ramachandramoorthy and Sita - with a garland of sandals - were displayed and no news outlet published it," he said at the event on January 14.
The news had rattled then DMK government headed by M Karunanidhi and the administration had seized copies of the magazine. But Cho Ramaswamy reprinted it and the copies sold "like hot cakes in black", Rajinikanth said.
Periyar Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, a splinter group of Dravidar Kazhagam founded by Periyar demanded an apology, but Rajinikath refused.
"I will not ask for an apology for the comments on Periyar. I spoke based on news reports I read. They speak on the basis of what they saw. This is an incident to be forgotten, not to be denied," the 69-year-old actor said.
PDK has now filed two police cases against him, accusing him of inciting hatred and promoting enmity.