- The slipper attack came three days after Mr Haasan's Godse remark
- On Sunday, he had said "independent India's first extremist was a Hindu"
- His party later said his comments were "taken out of context"
Slippers were thrown at actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Wednesday evening when he was campaigning in Tirupparankundram assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu's Madurai. The slipper attack came three days after Mr Haasan had said that "independent India's first extremist was a Hindu", referring to Mahatama Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse. Eleven people, including BJP workers and members of another outfit, Hanuman Sena, have been named in the police complaint. They threw the slippers towards the stage when Mr Haasan was addressing the crowd. The slippers did not hit Mr Haasan and fell on the crowd, said police.
Mr Haasan's remarks on Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1947, have snowballed into a major controversy. The 64-year-old, while campaigning in Aravakurichi on Sunday, had said: "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."
Aravakurichi and Tirupparankundram are among the four assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu where bypolls are scheduled on Sunday. Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam or the MNM, which has made a debut this national election, have fielded candidates from these seats.
The BJP was quick to slam the MNM chief. "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 soon after Mr Haasan's speech.
Tamil Nadu Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji also reacted to the comment on Monday and said Kamal Haasan's "tongue should be cut off". "Extremism has no religion, neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian," he said. The MNM demanded that he should be sacked for such a comment.
A police complaint was also filed against the actor-politician on Tuesday in Aravakurichi over his comments.
On Wednesday, Mr Haasan said he stood by his remarks and he had only "stated facts" in his speech. 'What I said is a historic fact. It's quoted out of context. How can I target a religion? I challenge you to show one instance of me inciting discord," he said. He also filed a petition for anticipatory bail in the Madras High Court saying his speech was about Nathuram Godse only and not about the Hindu community as a whole. The Madras High Court will hear the petition today.
Earlier in the day, his party had issued a statement saying his comments were "taken out of context". "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 statement read.